5 Important Tips on Building a Career Path

5 Important Tips on Building a Career Path

There are different points to consider when building one’s career. The process at the onset can be very tedious, rough and for the faint-hearted daunting, but persistent tenacity will bring an individual closer to the set goals. The first step is to know exactly what you want and be absolutely certain that you are on the path to conquest.

Key Points:

  1. General Basic Education
  2. Finding the Right Job
  3. Updating Knowledge
  4. Choice of Organization and Work Culture
  5. Get Mentoring

1. Basic General Education

Sometimes, the best of our motivational speakers assumes that the career pursuant already acquired the general basic education, which by the way is not limited to attending brick and mortar educational institutions from the elementary to tertiary level.

I strongly believe that education is all encompassing; observational learning is included, environmental signals must be taken seriously, literary learning is just an icing to the cake. There is a general believe that one is as good as the knowledge he/she has acquired in life. 

Invariably, it will be impossible to give what you don’t have. My advice therefore is consistent with my conviction that every occasion, every situation, every circumstance, every position, every contact and association and so on, are learning opportunities which must be effectively utilized in order to produce or yield the inherent dividend.

With the paper qualification (certificates) in your possession whether a Bachelors, (masters for better opportunities), short course certifications, technical/vocational certified trainings, you are now ready to take the world by storm; at least in your own mind. Your certificates, for you, is the best thing since slice bread.

2. Finding the Right Job

This thing called job satisfaction seems majorly elusive to employees. Just out of curiosity, I randomly took a qualitative survey, not for any particular purpose. The result is that three out of every ten employees wished they had another job. 

Thinking about it now, I believe, I was just messing around, this is not a reliable research result, just my observation. I simply wondered why a lot people I have come across are so excited on Fridays being the last work day of the week and very reluctant to go back to work on Mondays being the first work day of any new week. 

My reasoning was, you just had two days of rest and should have a lot of energy to give at work. Oh my, oh my! You need to see certain responses when holidays, especially like two days holiday falls around the weekend, meaning four consecutive days without work.

The excitement makes work feel like drudgery or to the extreme, bondage. As a fresh graduate out of college with good grades, you enter the employment market with so much hope and expectations of getting your dream job.

 After a few months of joblessness, your bills are piling and frustrations beginning to set in, the ones close to you complain that you are getting too cranky and overtly reactive on trivial issues. You settle for the next available offer thinking; ‘any job is better than no job’, that job could be one of your worst nightmares but you will survive. 

Two years down the line, reality now stares you in the face, that dream job is nowhere in sight. Your monthly take-home is a far cry from your expectation, grossly unhappy at the job. The inner battle is fierce and you must stay your mind on focus.

Now you really wonder if all those years spent in college was worth it, what’s the essence of the education after all. More than ever before, it’s easier to understand the days to go to college, get good grades and get good jobs are no longer with us.

There are too many graduates with good grades vying for the few job positions for your certificate category. Your mantra has changed from "I'm ready to take the world by storm" to "when the desired is unavailable the available becomes the desired". 

In your subconscious, your mindset has become that of a survivor who must keep surviving, this harsh economic reality is a bitter pill to swallow. You can’t even afford the lifestyle you had envisaged for yourself as yours is the case of an employed job seeker.

Yet five years after graduation, your dream career has been jettisoned because of the need for survival and you probably wonder if you will ever cut that career path. My candid admonition is to keep your vision in focus of all the opportunities barraging you and soon enough, you will find that point in which you will exhale; according to the songwriter.

3. Updating Knowledge

It is so crucial to ensure that you are up to the date with the trend of your profession in the area of technology, prevailing standard practice and global relevance. There are new knowledge unfolding at the pace that could be challenging for the employee or job seeker to keep up with. It is therefore, your responsibility to source for and acquire the necessary new knowledge that enhances your skills.

Short courses are available for this purpose, they help maintain your workplace relevance as well as enhance your efficiency on the job. By the way, it is okay to diversify and become a multi-talent as long as you’re ready to invest time, resources and brain energy to this type of self-development endeavors.

 A popular saying in my days as a youngster “no knowledge is a waste”; acquire as many skills as you’re able to effectively manage, they could come handy someday. Digital literacy is today a key requirement at the workplace with artificial intelligence on the rise, machine learning is also revolutionizing the workplace.

Back in the days, early 90s, when I enrolled for a Diploma in Data Processing, it was just necessary to be computer literate, I didn’t even attach much value to that learning at the time but that training early in my life helped shape my work life.

We now live in a global village with access to almost every country you can think about due to the proliferation of digital technology with new innovations springing forth, changing the trajectory not only of work life but personal life as well.

We all know that COVID-19 pandemic played significant role in the new normal we’re experiencing presently, thousands lost their jobs because they did not have the requisite skills to remain relevant in post pandemic era. 

Economies of the world are still in the process of recovery from the impact, do not wait for an economic tsunami, constant update your workplace knowledge and be ready always.

Choice of Organization and Work Culture

Organizations and work culture could catalyze your decision, whether or not to accept a job offer. I am aware that some employees have declined a fat pay check offer from one organization in favour of another with less salary.

What could be the reason behind such decisions? ‘We all work so we could earn good money and live good lives’ was my thoughts. For some, as they go up the career ladder, it’s no longer all about the money.

Please don’t get me wrong, the take home pay is very important but as one gets to the zenith of one’s career other factors that include job satisfaction and job security play more crucial role in choice of employment offer to accept. You have garnered years of work experience and you’re damned good at what you do.

Organizational integrity and corporate image matter very much to you now because you have built a ‘personality with character’ that is recognized within your industry and beyond as well as your circle of influence. Notoriety impedes success. Hence, the reputation of your employer is more important than the paycheck they’re offering.

Tread with caution to aid ease of the process of your career advancement and development. People who work with prestigious organizations are more likely to climb up the corporate ladder faster than those with organizations known for sharp practices.

Do well to familiarize yourself with the mission and vision statements of your employers, their values statements are closely knit with the work cultures.

Some years back I was at a seminar and one of the keynote speakers described the culture of a company he once worked with in the 1980s to 90s, that had the culture of investing in staff training and development but ended up losing these staff because others who were not ready to train, lured them with better pay check after acquiring the necessary training.

Fresh graduates always kept tag on them for job openings, after engagement, they will go through the same cycle. At a point, the management had to meet to x-ray this culture and consider how it can work for them.

The only way was to increase the paycheck but they couldn’t afford to keep training and still offer the kind of salary other companies were offering. They resolved to keep their training culture. He narrated a particular incident he had to deal with; one of such his employees who was outstanding in his job got an offer from another multinational.

This staff was so good that he had to plead with him to stay and wanted to march whatever the new offer was but when he saw the offer letter, he was speechless. There was no way the company can make him such offer. He left for his new job only to call his former boss after less than a year at the new job, asking that he would like to return to his old job, if they still needed him.

 The money was good but there was no job satisfaction which he had at his old job. Mr. Former Boss did not even pretend, he welcomed him back. My advice; don’t try this in the present-day workplace, a lot of things could go wrong. If you find that you have made a bad decision, resolve it and move forward.

4. Get Mentoring

Generally speaking, there’s nothing new when it comes to success, the dynamics may differ or change in response to the evolution of new eras and transformations. You don’t have to walk the same rough roads others have walked before you.

You have people for examples and their experiences count for your instruction, ordering your footsteps and lighting your pathway. You should have an easier ride as a result of getting some heads-up from a trusted mentor who share their experiences with you and give you quality counsel based on prior experiences.

Mentors literally take you by the hand, guide your steps to walk the path through decision making. On the other hand, as a mentee, there must be willingness on your part to be ready to receive instructions that will spur you on the path to success. From experience, mentors can easily decipher issues that as a mentee, you may not easily identify, their interventions truly add values, one of which is time saving, helping you to effectively manage your time.

 In this regard, unnecessary errors that would have posed measurable challenges in the growth process are avoided. With prognostic efficiency, you can now easily diagnose problems more effectively, bringing your problem-solving skill to resolve issues.

In conclusion, you must be careful not to fall into the trap of routine. Dynamism is the name of the game, be proactive, creative and productive. Correctly checking all the boxes all at once is a tall order, very unattainable for a while. However, bear in mind that consistency is a game changer; learn new skills, diagnose organizations and exploit new mechanics.

Let me reiterate that it will be tedious, even daunting but you will conquer with persistent consistency. Choose your network and be intentional about your circle of influence, ceteris paribus, your testimonial shall be outstanding.

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