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Everything you were taught about career paths was wrong

https://www.fastcompany.com/90558907/everything-you-were-taught-about-career-paths-was-wrong

fastcompany.com

Everything you were taught about career paths was wrong
The CMO of Reputation.com offers five strategies to take the road less traveled and succeed.

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The road less traveled

The road less traveled

Choosing a nontraditional career path isn't the easiest approach, but it's one that makes job candidates more appealing to a smart recruiter.

It is natural to experience anxiety when choosing the road less traveled. This anxiety can be used as an opportunity to learn and grow personally and professionally. The key is to use the discomfort productively and master overwhelming situations.

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Don’t target just the big companies

A lesser-known company will most likely have more learning opportunities where you can challenge yourself and broaden your scope.

Big companies can be very good for professionals at the beginning of their careers as they have the resources to train people well. But large companies tend to be complex, bureaucratic organisations, and you may be unable to progress your career quickly.

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Approaching difficult conversations head-on

Don't pretend that you don't have obligations outside of the office. Instead, set expectations at work and home to achieve enough balance to thrive in each environment.

Keeping a work-life balance is essential. Women, In particular, should force themselves to have uncomfortable conversations with their managers about other priorities, such as children and family obligations.

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Learn from all types of leaders

Keep in mind that there's no such thing as a perfect leader. It often means recognizing and learning from the strengths and weaknesses of whoever your leaders are and translating it into skills you can use in the future.

In truth, no one is good at everything. Some people are amazing leaders, and others are smart and creative but terrible at managing people.

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Get your hands dirty

Doing the unexpected feeds the idea that you understand what real work looks like, creates a healthy culture, and established your role as a leader.

Taking on tasks and responsibilities that are "below your pay grade" builds trust and goodwill with your teams. It also squashes the ego.

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Don’t let anxieties own you

By acknowledging your anxiety and moving through the discomfort, you learn how to manage it instead of letting it control you.

For some people, the anxiety that comes with navigating a career can be unpleasant, but it can be debilitating for others.

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The key to growth

Divergent and dissident people are the key to growth and innovation. However, some leaders demonize the people who raise a problem instead of solving the problem that is raised.

They ...

Notice the problem

Disruption, change, or growth is often the cause for the issues becoming uncomfortable.

Ask if management/key status reports explicitly name open issues that could significantly affect the future of the business?

Remind yourself that as uncomfortable as it is, when you no longer have answers, you get to start building what comes next.

Define the processes

Define the processes to work on gaps to solve difficult problems all the time. The fast market dynamic requires constant learners, adapting and growing and trying new things.

  • Is there an ongoing mechanism to address far-reaching issues?
  • Can difficult topics be raised?
  • Is it a regular process? 

Study what percent of your time is spent working on bigger critical issues that seem unsolvable.

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Understand Your Performance Evaluation

Find out if your performance evaluation is according to what you understand. Identify your goals and key performance indicators with your manager, and discuss accordingly.

Solve your Blind Spots

Ask for feedback, learn from it and adjust your performance (or behavior) according to the areas of improvement that you get to know from others.

Example: After giving a presentation, talk about what went well and ask if there is something that you could have done better.

Keep a Journal

Keeping a journal with a record of your learnings and feedback (areas of improvement) can keep us on the right path, and speed up our progress, and learning too.

Listing out 5 or 10 areas of improvement and tracking the progress in weekly or monthly reviews is a great way to develop your career.

Vulnerability and confirmation bias

Vulnerability and confirmation bias

Vulnerability challenges your confirmation bias.

It is uncomfortable to ask questions, express your opinion, or open up about your emotions with people. You expose yourself to their cr...

Breaking out of your comfort zone

Breaking out of your comfort zone makes you feel vulnerable, but that feeling works in your favor because it improves your performance and boosts your growth. A  constant state of comfort equals steady performance.

Too much anxiety, however, will make you too stressed to be productive. 

Set realistic goals to hedge your anxiety

In most cases, once you do something scary, you realize it’s not as bad as you thought—it was just the anticipation that frightened you more than anything.

Setting a goal can help you get past that anticipation and feel in control of your vulnerability.