What is a Career and Why Does It Matter?

If you are experiencing turbulence in your career, it can be unsettling and frustrating. Especially if being decisive and pro-active are your normal ways of operating.

At times like these, it never ceases to amaze me how stripping things back to basics can have a powerful releasing and empowering effect.

Thanks to the fresh perspectives and insights it creates.

This is because the simplest, most common words sometimes create negative triggers or traps. And can generate a whole lot of personal misconceptions.

Let’s take ‘career’ as the example.

I know, you’d never have guessed I was going to use that one 😄.

What is a career and why does knowing matter?

#1 A career is your ever-evolving professional story.

Or, as I say, your career adventure. It is the connected, evolving, long-term progress you make within your professional life.

Each phase and evolution an exciting new chapter.

Your career is energised by learning, evolving skills and experiences which help you develop your professional life into future.

Seeing your career in this way can have a liberating effect because it acknowledges change as a constant and not a negative.

Change brings opportunities and allows you to evolve as the world around you evolves.

Helping you remember it’s about what you want and what the world needs rather than basing it on someone else’s opinions of what makes an ideal career.

#2 Your ‘career’ not ‘careers’.

I’m not being purposefully pedantic when I say this, honestly. By recognising your career is a singular interconnected, rich, evolving beastie, it can take the pressure off and bring a whole new perspective on change.

You may move paths, you may retrain, you may have a portfolio approach, have a self-employed / employed combo or have several side hustles, whatever works for you.

All of it is your career…singular.

Transitioning into something new is not another career; it’s not about throwing the past away.

Moving into new career territory, pivoting, is about using your capabilities in new ways and in new places.

Each phase, each experience, every bit of learning contributes in some way to your ever-evolving career adventure.

#3 Your job is NOT your career.

You may take different jobs, roles, projects etc along the way. They are all part of your career mix.

Each one on its own, however, is not your career.

Seeing yourself as more than a job title; as more than a collection of meaningless words, can help you recognise your true value. It can release you from the shackles of organisational hierarchies and other people’s definitions of success.

Plus, when you have to make tough decisions in order to get through tough times, the jobs you might take temporarily still have value and are part of your career… if you let them of course.

They don’t define you or undermine your career.

(See more about this in my Be Your Career Angel article)

What about your career?

The only comments I can make about your career is that it is unique and personal to you. And that’s how it should be.

Prescribed career steps may exist, management schemes, professional accreditations are there for some. Regardless, your career is still unique to you.

Remember, wherever you go, whatever you do, it’s your career adventure and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. [ Or they’ll have me to deal with 🙂 ]

If you need my help evolving or developing your unique career adventure then why not become part of our Re-energising Your Career Hub. Resources galore and private input from me. Be great to see you there.

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