Making Career Development More Proactive

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

When I first started work, I wasn’t really in control of my career. It always felt as though my employer was making the key decisions and all I could do was try and influence them.

Sure, I had review discussions with my manager and was asked what I wanted to do in my career, but then I had to hope that I was assigned to that training opportunity or that I was considered when the next appropriate opening came up. This was a time when it was far harder to move from one organization to the next (the first time I moved companies, I wrote and snail-mailed over 100 letters seeking opportunities), and where most job openings were filled by appointment, not application and selection.

Even back then, the situation was starting to change, and today things are obviously very different—not least because of the ease with which people can become aware of and apply for new positions. There is also far greater recognition of the importance of employees being involved in their career advancement, making decisions around the skills they want to develop, the training they want to pursue and the direction they want to take their career.

There has been a real shift from passive career development to active career development. However, I think it’s time for the next step—a move to proactive career development. For most people, that hasn’t happened yet.

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"Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock."

- Will Rogers