Great careers don’t just happen. They are the result of lots of hard work, having a plan and the right training and personal development. Some people have more than one great career. Research from Careers Advice Online shows that on average we all will have 5-7 careers in our lifetime. Whatever your path, you will need to change and adapt whilst you move between roles or careers: these are called career transitions and transitions (no matter how big or small) take investment in terms of time, energy and focus because change doesn’t happen immediately and life gets in the way.
We notice this particularly amongst mid-career women – a group we work with all the time. They are an amazing bunch: they have worked hard to get where they are today, they may or may not have children or caring responsibilities, they are ambitious and ready to work hard. However, they are often a little ‘at sea’, they have drifted off course from the path they set out on at 16 or 18. We call it ‘mid-career madness’: a period when there’s no time to think about what you really want out of your life and your career and a time when frustrations can run high.
This time in a woman’s career can set career progression back quite some way. It’s also the time when organisations offer the least support in terms of personal development training. Skills training? Sure – you can get as much of that as you need. Any kind of course that helps you gain a better understanding of who you are, what you have to offer and where you want to go… well maybe. if you’re ‘talent’.
We’re not talking about ‘talent’ here, but we know that it’s a pretty blunt instrument and a lot of ‘talent’ is missed. We all have different circumstances, life events, good and bad times etc, which impact on how easy our career path has been. Organisations don’t (and probably can’t) take this into account so they focus on what is best for their business: a focus on skills based training, spotting the ‘good’ people and then training them up to be future leaders.
The myth of career ‘lifers’
This is all great for career ‘lifers’, but how many of them do you know? A career ‘for life’ has been dead for a couple of decades at least, lots of people have side hustles and other life interests they value highly. However, most people we meet still rely on their organisations for training instead of sourcing it themselves. Why, we often ask, would you put your future success in the hands of your company when you’re more than likely to move on or do something different? What if when the ‘talent’ was being spotted you weren’t in the right place to be spotted? Does that mean you have to stay where you are and achieve what they believe you can achieve?
Invest in your career
At Birdsoup, we firmly say no! Career development is a vital process that everyone should do every few years. Like having your nails and hair done, or having health check-ups, this should be part of your regular repertoire. We believe that companies would get much more out of their people if they offered it to employees but doing it for yourself is the best. You are able to really be honest about what you want and how you’re going to do it. You can recognise and acknowledge what you have to offer, your achievements and your true ambition. Everyone is ‘talent’ everyone has potential. Taking stock allows you to realise how far you’ve come and sets your sights on the next direction of travel.
In our experience, going through the career planning process leaves women feeling empowered and confident. Whether 1:1 with a career coach or in a group, investing in themselves makes them feel refreshed and more motivated. It reminds us of the feeling you have when you’ve bought a new pair of shoes, had a facial or your nails done or had a relaxing spa day. The difference is that it lasts for much longer! We are constantly inspired by their vision and achievements and love hearing from our ‘alumni’. Why not invest in yourself and create your future career vision?