You may be thinking what does construction have to do with career?

I recently took a walk in my neighborhood and saw a home that had been under construction and was just being completed. It was a very pretty contemporary home with clean lines and I started thinking about all the choices the new homeowner made when designing the house.

When building this house they selected carpets, paint, lighting, counter-tops, appliances, furnishings and décor. They picked a location and in this instance they picked this particular lot in this neighborhood. Not just any lot would do for this beautiful home, right?

They made numerous decisions building this house based on their prior homes and what they enjoy. They made enhancements based on previous experiences to get this home as close to the ideal vision as they could.

This house got me thinking about how come we can build a house, plan the perfect vacation, buy the car that makes our heart go pitter patter but we struggle in saying what we want for our career?

I talk to many women in my corporate workshops and they can tell me what they don’t want in their career, but it’s difficult for them to tell me what they do want.

When was the last time you gave serious thought to what you enjoy about your job? What are you good at? What are you not so good at? What would you like to try? What sounds interesting to you?

Just like day dreaming about the choices that go into building a beautiful home, you need to have a creative vision about what it means to be fulfilled in YOUR career.

2017 is just about here! Do you know what you’d like to achieve next year in your career? If not, here are questions and suggestions to help you envision what can be possible for you.

  1. What are at least 2 career skills (that you enjoy) that you could add this year? Find a course and ask your employer to approve it. Always ask, otherwise the answer is always No.
  2. Identify 2 positions in your organization that you might be interested in. If there aren’t any in your organization, then look outside (and pssst…that might be a sign).
  3. Who do you need to connect with that you can learn more about positions inside (or outside) your organization? Take them to lunch or coffee.
  4. What are your career values? What is most important to you related to your career? What needs to be present for you to be fulfilled? A challenge? A good team? Respect? The ability to serve others?
  5. Who can give you unbiased feedback on your strengths, weaknesses, skills, etc.? Find people who can help you brainstorm new ideas, connections and potential solutions to career snags.
  6. Create a goal for your career progress for the year that includes the answers to the above questions. Start with the end in mind and work backwards so you know what you need to be focusing on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.
  7. Get a group of gals together to help each other out with your 2017 career planning. Meet regularly and support each other by brainstorming and holding each other accountable.

If you think that by doing a good job, that someone will notice and give you a promotion and a raise, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. It rarely happens. It is up to YOU to plot your career course, make decisions that bring you fulfillment and educate your employer on your skills and abilities. Make them see how valuable you and your skills are to them.

Place your career “under construction” and start building the one that you want. Just like building a home, let yourself think about the specifics of what you want it to be. Make selections that feel right to you to move you closer to the career that you want to have.

Here’s wishing you the clarity you deserve.