When I first entered the workforce, the path for moving forward and advancing my career was steep and hierarchical. In some ways, it reminded me of the steps required to ascend the temples in Chitza Nitza, Mexico. If you have ever climbed the pyramid at Chitza Nitza, you know that it?s not too bad at the lower levels, but gets more challenging the higher you go. And as you might expect, it was pretty lonely at the top.
Today, the organizational realm in which we work has been dramatically altered. Organizations are flatter, with fewer middle management positions. Those that do hold those positions now have broader spans of control with more responsibility. Downsizing or ?rightsizing? has become an accepted business practice in most companies. And, we have come to know, that we all have limited — if any — job security.
Not to worry! There are still plenty of opportunities for those that want to move ahead and ascend the corporate ladder. It does require you to change your perspective and develop a new vocabulary.
If you want to move ahead in your company, here are a few tips to get you started:
– Develop a “Me, Inc.” attitude. Identify your key assets and liabilities. Then create a plan to leverage your assets and offset your liabilities. Think about how you will communicate your interest in being promoted. Involve your manager when appropriate. But remember, you are responsible for your own career success.
– Invest in your “work portfolio.” Develop a wide range of experiences and desirable skills. Think about what specific skills the next job will require. For example: supervising, team-building, decision-making, budgeting, or scheduling. Then take steps to develop your skills. Do this internally at your company or externally through volunteer work, a self-study program, or taking a local course. And remember, embrace lifelong development and continuous learning by taking advantage of degreed programs, industry seminars, continuing education and company training programs.
– Be a change agent. Get comfortable with handling ongoing change. This means not only embracing change but also seeking it out in the form of new and challenging experiences. Move around willingly and proactively. That includes up, down, and sideways within your company, and outside of your company when necessary.
Follow these tips and you can expect new avenues to open up for you. And remember, in the new world of work, up is not the only way!
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