A successful career is the key to every individual’s happiness and, whether we accept it or not, it is directly linked to their monetary well-being. However, do you know what exactly is needed to shape your career for success – how shall you decode career success. By the time you all read this – most probably you all would have gone through the appraisal process at your respective organizations.
Rating your teams and then in turn being appraised by your bosses and super bosses – it has now become a tradition and we all know that we need to live with it. In a way it is good as the appraisal process gives us a fair idea about areas of improvement and the challenges that need immediate attention in order to meet the goals – personal and professional – for the coming years. But as I said – it has now become a routine process and honestly speaking people open their eyes at the appraisal wake-up call only by the month of January or February – as these are the months where the self-appraisal takes place and you feel the need to gear up to achieve your targets. But it is now too late to reconcile the deeds – good and bad – done across the year. However; this is not appropriate.
How would you define a successful career?
The entire year we run like headless chickens to accomplish routines; which at times sum up to our yearly performance and at times they do not, a lot of you would agree that most of the times – they do not. So did you succeed in whatever you started – did you achieve your goals and if yes – did you achieve them as desired and the way you deserved? How would you define a successful career? How to decode your career success? According to me the definition – meaning and importance of success differs for different people at different levels and the same is applicable when we talk about “career success”.
Every individual desires and deserves an invariably different outcome, read success, from others who also made the same choice – but with different set of reasons. Most of the readers would agree to the fact that measuring these desired outcomes is a complex task, however; I would suggest lets divide career outcomes in two segments – Peripheral or External career success and Inherent career success. As the name suggests the Inherent career success is all about the aspirations of an individual and plans about future work life. However; the Peripheral career success is all about real life scenarios – constraints and opportunities in an organization called MARKET.
Peripheral or External Career Success The so very common understanding of it is – climbing the ladder of hierarchy – enhanced income – more power – position – reputation, and a step further; corner room offices and perks that include travelling first-class and chauffeur driven luxury cars and so on so forth.
This type of career success ensures that your individuality, freedom and creativity up to certain extent take a back seat.
Individuals who thrive for this kind of success, most of us do, are the real hard working professionals at expansive organizations and they get themselves shaped by the hi-fi corporate culture.
Ambitious – young – freshers aspire to join corporates, the C-suite, getting all that power and prestige as a part and parcel of their career.
They work extended hours at the cost of their creativity and personal life with a dream to move up the ladder.
They are the same individuals who firmly believe that there is peace upon ascending from where they started.
Subscribers of this faith feel very strongly that they have a moral obligation to fit in, and conform to the mean in every aspect of their being.
Volatile markets compel organizations to grow or downsize, and in both the scenarios; there is very little room at the top- though the individual is competent enough. Alliances, acquisitions, mergers and joint ventures make upward movements unpredictable, extreme and stressful.
Inherent or Internal Career Success Individuals or professionals who believe in this kind of career success are the ones with their own subjective idea about work life and their role within it. These individuals are bang opposite of afore mentioned kind of success. For them success means highly valued outcomes when measured against their own personal goals and not the externally defined goals.
Interesting fact about these individuals is that the career drivers for them vary widely, and these drivers may change over time. A series of events over period may trigger shifts in internal career drivers.
However; there are dicey situations as well, making it difficult to decide whether the alteration to internal career drivers occurred due to some events at work or shift of paradigm in personal life such as divorce, mid-life crisis, death of spouse, degenerative disease?
Satisfaction, recognition, self-esteem and self-actualisation are the key drivers of this model…surprised…yeah but it is a fact that these are more subjective and individually driven as compared to those motivational – value oriented talent management initiatives crafted out by corporates. One of the former professors, C Brooklyn Derr, from Brigham Young University management, suggested in 1986 – that there are five different inherent career success drivers:
- Getting ahead (upward mobility)
- Getting secure (company loyalty and a sense of belonging)
- Getting free (autonomy)
- Getting high (excitement of the work itself)
- Getting balanced (finding equilibrium between personal and professional life)
Personal career choices and search for self-fulfillment, these two elements abide in an individual’s life and thought process with little or no value proposition from Peripheral or External Career Success. By now, I know for sure that, you all would have started aligning your thought process and the success you attained, with either of the above mentioned career success patterns.
I strongly believe that career is an individual choice and it solely depends on an individual’s motivation, beliefs and psychological traits. What works for your colleagues and friend or competitor may or may not succeed when it comes to your career progression. Chances are high that next generation careers would be predicted on individually driven success and not on success within organizational context. This certainly means that count of managers getting hierarchical advancements will dip down as compared to the glorious past. Make your choice carefully while you enjoy your career progression as well – this will help you take the onus and not Shrek away from the responsibilities. Choices come with implications and you will agree that not all of them are sweet. The key to my successful career is that I accepted everything graciously and kept moving with positive attitude energy.
Chiraag Shivalker has that diverse, professional, personal background & experience to understand the issues that challenge and drive, organization’s talented team members. A degree in HRM with Behavioral Science, 16 Years Professional experience in BPO Ops, Corporate communication & Digital Marketing and Branding in mind and words at will – he has established his writing capabilities’ in multiple disciplines. Exceptional portfolio includes feature articles for trade and consumer publications, marketing collateral, press releases, and online content.