What Will Your Next Job Be?

Original Spanish version published in America Economia (Latin America) on June 15, 2015

It is essential to give some thought to our job future. As part of that exercise, it is important to define our strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

Have you thought about what your next job or position will be? About how your professional future will be some years from now? Have you thought about where you will be, what you will be doing, and if you will be happy? Do you already know how far you want to go? To what do you really aspire? Is all of that clear to you?

I am assisting many people right now, and helping them raise their employability level is my passion. I am always sad to find that many people, of all ages and varying positions, work with no direction and make career decisions randomly. They spend many hours a day meeting goals set by their bosses or others, but they do not have or do not know how to develop a life plan, much less a career plan, with clear goals and strategies consistent with what they want to achieve. Many have also failed to grasp that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to doing. Even worse, many others do not even set many goals. They aspire to little or nothing, and, of course, that is what they get.

For those of us who have some level of healthy professional ambition, planning our future –inventing it– is not easy either, but we know that it is essential to do so. As entrepreneurs of our own career journey, we must take many decisions that will affect our future and we must do so immediately. Where do we want to go? How high or far do we want to go? What do we want to do with our professional services, with our career, with our life? How high do we want to position our name and personal brand? Thinking and deciding about all of this is key to succeeding in our careers, and it is our responsibility.

We must all plan for our next job. This is not about disloyalty or lack of commitment to our present company, but about managing our professional career strategically and realistically. Ideally, that next job will stem from the quantifiable value we add, our good attitude, how ethically we work together, and how much we develop our skills and talents.

But nobody can guarantee that. No job is safe and there will always be changes. Jobs today last as long as they work for both parties, and no company can guarantee that we will always have a job with them. In this constantly shifting world, we must think about investing time and resources in continuously raising our level of employability in order to keep ourselves relevant and competitive. For that, we have to learn to know ourselves as people and as professionals so that we can define the services we offer well. We must clearly define what our strengths, weaknesses, and interests are. We must also know exactly what our achievements, success indicators, and value contributions are. It is also important that we assess how relevant and updated our contact network, as well as our personal brand and reputation, is. It is equally important to thoroughly study the industry in which we operate and the organizations we aim for. With that information in hand, we can plan our options and develop a plan to get there.

Businesses do this constantly through their business plans, where they review their results every three months, for example. Likewise, we, as service providers, must produce indicators and measure ourselves from time to time.

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