Smart Career Management: It’s 20-20

In reality, hindsight might be the only career management “vision” that is 20-20; however, hindsight is not the best career management tool. It can give you insight into mistakes you have made in your career management, which is potentially useful after the fact, but heavy reliance on it will put you seriously behind the curve in terms of making wise and successful career moves. Hindsight is re-active; 20-20 career management is pro-active. It doesn’t take a genius to see that 20-20 career management offers many more benefits.

What Smart Career Management Can Do for You

Although you might not be able to make your career management planning and execution truly 20-20, you can take a number of steps that bring you much closer to that goal. Just to name a few:

  • Realize that you don’t need to and shouldn’t try to “go it alone.” Smart career management recognizes that seeking out a variety of experts and other valuable resources maximizes your time and expertise. Others might well see red flags you miss and alert you in time to take corrective action.
  • Keep your periscope up when you’re under water, so you can spot trouble looming on the horizon. In other words, even if you’re swamped with work or otherwise preoccupied with things you have to accomplish, you can’t afford to relax your watchfulness about what is going on around (and above) you.
  • Think strategically and long-range, not just short-term. Although your situation might appear smooth and satisfactory right now, you don’t want to assume it will continue that way indefinitely–or even that it really is as smooth and satisfactory as it seems. Alertness and contingency planning are your friends.
  • Focus on building and increasing your value to employers (current and potential) every day, in nearly everything you do as a professional. What is “good enough” today might fall short tomorrow, and although you can’t anticipate with certainty the events tomorrow will bring, you can do your utmost to ensure that you are as ready as a human being can be to make the most of it–make it work to your advantage.

Evaluate Your Career Management Periodically

Career management planning resembles trying to hit a moving target. Smart career managers (whether active or inactive job seekers) know that they can’t coast on past successes and/or count on serendipitous happenings in the future. However, they focus keen attention on what they reasonably can count on and do something constructive about, as well as preparing for what they can’t foresee. This means they evaluate their situation periodically (every year at a minimum; every 6 months or so is better) and try to determine whether any significant factors have changed or seem likely to change in the coming months.

It’s important to adopt this approach not only within your organization but also with regard to events and conditions outside your company, your industry, your geographical location, etc., etc., etc. In some horse races, the horses wear blinders to keep them from being distracted by what’s happening near them. Your career management, however, is not a horse race!

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