5 Reasons Not To Leave Your Career Up to “The Man”

Whether you've hung on to your job or not, if you've seen the layoff scythe wielded through the corporate halls you've seen in sharp relief that you can't rely on your company to protect your career advancement.

By Kristi Daeda, founder of LaunchSummit

The typical reaction is finger pointing at the bigwigs for screwing their long term labor force.  But the truth is this: you don't want them to take care of you.

In your father's day, you would have been trained to take the next step in your career. You may have been promoted a little before you were really ready, but because you knew the business and had shown your ambition you would have been given the chance to prove yourself. You also may have found yourself resenting the drudgery of the suit-and-tie life, wondering where the last twenty years have gone and drowning your sorrows in that extra happy hour martini.

Is that the life you're aiming for?

If you're looking for something different from your career — something that's more fun, more challenging, more flexible, and heck, even pays more — no one's going to get it for you but you.

Here's why now is the best time to take charge of your own career development:

1. You're no one's priority but yours.

Your manager's job is to deliver results, and ensure that you're doing the same. Even if your boss is really looking out for you, too much time spent on your career might cost them theirs.

2. Companies design career paths around expediency, not excitement.

Rarely does a company ask itself what its employees might like to learn. And because training budgets are tight (or nonexistent this year) HR is planning how you'll progress based on the skills you develop on the job, and how to use those skills for business goals. Your goals are secondary.

3. The resources for your own career management are unprecedented.

There are hundreds of networking events and associations, online tools, informational resources, job boards, career development resources and more. If you're not sure how to manage your career, start with a Google search and go from there.

Text - rarely does a company ask its employees

4. Everyone else is doing it.

Of course, the fact that there's so much out there to help you manage your career means two things — people want to do it, and are doing it. Those people are your competition. Sure, you could hang out and see how things go. But a year from now, when all your competition has a year of networking and professional development under their belts, do you want to be competing with them for jobs?

5. You don't want to be there that long anyways.

How long do you expect to stay at your current company? Assuming that they want to keep you, and that the company still exists, chances are you're looking at a few years, tops. Your company will groom you for what they need — their technologies, processes and strategy. But is that in keeping with the wider market? If you're not managing your own career, you'll likely never know.

It's an incredible time for career growth. If you make the time, access the tools, and can muster the motivation, you can create your own opportunities. But no one else will do it for you.

What do you want out of your career in 2010? Are you ready to make it happen?

A woman smiling for the camera
Kristi Daeda is a career coach, blogger and personal marketing strategist helping professionals nationwide create their own career opportunities. She is the founder of LaunchSummit, a free web-based educational event for job seekers, and blogs on job search, management, leadership, networking and more at Career Adventure.