You’re doing your best to hang on to your job, constantly worried that it might disappear tomorrow. That’s consuming so much mental energy that it’s hard to think much about next month, much less a year or two in the future.
But that’s dangerous.
The odds are very good that you will change jobs in the future, whether by your own choosing or by your employer’s. Based on this observation, it’s pretty important to be figuring out what that next step might be.
Otherwise, the change will come and you won’t be ready.
Your next job will be based upon:
- Your skills and knowledge.
- Your connections.
- How well you’re known to potential hiring managers.
- Your reputation.
- What people see when they look you up on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
- Your qualifications, credentials, and publications.
- Your credible contributions and track record.
All of these things are being built today, whether you’re worrying about them or not. But they might be going in a direction that won’t help you get a job: Perhaps some of those Facebook photos don’t really highlight your professionalism. Or perhaps your reputation is starting to look a bit tarnished because of the attitude you’ve been carrying around. Or you have good connections in your current job, but they’re not likely to be as useful in your next job in a different department or another company.
It’s not really about adding more work to what you do. It’s about being more thoughtful and intentional. You’re already making connections now; will they be likely to help you in the future? What would help them to view you positively?
You’re already making contributions and building skills; are you documenting your accomplishments so that others will understand the value you’ve delivered?
You’re already making an impression with the people you meet; is it the impression that will help your career? What would make it better?
Whether you think about it or not, you’re laying the groundwork for what your next job will be.
So it’s best to think about it.
Carl Dierschow is a certified Organizational Leadership Coach and author of the career management guide, Mondays Stink! 23 Secrets to Rediscover Delight and Fulfillment in Your Work. He is a career coach for those going through interesting transitions, and works with leaders who are creating amazing teams.