Is Your Career Really Worth Bothering About?

By Steve Nicholls

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Steve Nicholls - Your Career

I've never felt that comfortable with the seemingly "emergency" or "crisis" nature of career coaching, career management, or career guidance interventions. It often feels piecemeal. Don't get me wrong, I understand that crises can and do happen, but so often the immediate motivation is toward getting the next role, then breathing a sigh of relief, only to start to feel some nagging doubt once the first couple of months in the new job are completed.

Why does this happen? Because I believe that most of us are prone to short-term thinking. Perhaps it’s part human nature, partly to do with the nature of our lives these days, and the impact of social media; having to consume so much data, so much acquired wisdom that we’ve somehow forgotten how to take a step back and plan properly. I have seen this time and time again with my clients.

Is there a solution to this short term thinking? Yes I believe there is. I would suggest considering an approach to lifelong career management that I have been exposed to in the past few months; Kaizen (which takes in Lean manufacturing / Operational Excellence strategies).

In case you don’t know, the Japanese word "kaizen" simply means "good change". With no inherent meaning of either "continuous" or "philosophy" in Japanese dictionaries or in everyday use. The word refers to any improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small, in the same sense as the English word "improvement". However, given the common practice in Japan of labelling industrial or business improvement techniques with the word "kaizen" (for lack of a specific Japanese word meaning "continuous improvement" or "philosophy of improvement"), especially in the case of oft-emulated practices spearheaded by Toyota, the word Kaizen in English is typically applied to measures for implementing continuous improvement, or even taken to mean a "Japanese philosophy" thereof. 

So what I have learned is that this philosophy, when applied, can embed career management thinking as a regular part of your career lifespan, not just when the ‘proverbial’ hits the fan. Think of your career as an ongoing managed piece of work.

Career management in has become a lifelong process. That fact will remain and become more difficult to tie down in future years. There will always be the “career types” who remain in their chosen profession for most of their adult life, but for many of us the ongoing  process is one of “gain that new role, start to research and network for the next role”.

So, is your career worth bothering about? How do acquire the necessary career management skills to be successful? What skills do you need to learn and hone? I invite you to sign up to my top tips emails, and I’ll keep you posted. If you have any specific questions about your career, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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