Climbing in the Right Direction

Career progression as a process has changed significantly in the past few decades. It used to be that employees would stay with the same company for decades, and possibly for their entire career. When this was the case, companies had a vested interested in developing an employee, helping them to climb their career ladder with promotions and career development.

Today, however, with turnover being much higher, companies won’t usually actively invest in an employee’s career progression. What this means is an employee often has to embark on career development by themselves. When you decide to embark on your own career development path, however, you have to make sure that your career ladder is leaning in the right direction. So before you start coming up with a career development plan, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What vision do you have for your career? Most of us have some idea, even if it’s a very vague one, of where we’d like our career to take us. Knowing what industry and position you’d like to pursue will do a great deal to inform your current career path and aspirations. So ask yourself if the career you’re currently in aligns with the vision you have for your career. Do you see yourself moving up from here, or does it seem to be a dead end? If you’re uncertain about your career vision, do some self-examination. Which aspects of your work life do you enjoy, and which could you do without? What industries spark your passion? What is really important to you in a job? Coming up with concrete answers to these questions will help your career point in the right direction.
  2. Would you like to learn more about your current work? Being passionate about something means, in part, wanting to learn more about it. We find our chosen paths by following our interests and finding out which topics are most engaging for our personalities. So if you find yourself constantly seeking out new information and skills in your current line of work, chances are your career ladder is heading in the right direction. If, on the other hand, you have no interest in exploring and learning more about your current work, then you may want to evaluate how much it aligns with your career interests.
  3. Do you feel satisfied when you finish work most days? Let’s face it: we all have work days that make us want to throw up our hands in exasperation. However, hopefully that is only the case some of the time. Ask yourself if your work is a satisfying part of your life. Do you feel content or energized by it most days? On days where you don’t, is that because of the job itself or because of some outside force present on that day? Be aware of your emotions, both going to and leaving your job, to provide insight into how your work impacts your life. If you feel dissatisfied or downright crabby most days leaving work, then your career ladder probably isn’t taking you in the right direction.

Once you have a clear idea of where you want your career to take you, you’ll be better able to identify a trajectory and the skills you’ll need to get there. Be prepared to make modifications along the way; no path every goes as smoothly as we want it to. Be willing to adapt to new situations, and come back to your plan to re-evaluate each year. Above all, remember that you have control over your career path, and you can decide which direction to pursue.

Career Solutions Group provides a holistic approach to the job search and career change processes. If you are interested in hearing more about our services, email us at We offer free initial consultations and have helped hundreds of career changers make fulfilling transitions.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group