Are you in the driver's seat of your own career, or do you feel like you are living a work life that you have little control over?

A sense of control matters more to some people than others, but when your career is being dictated by other people then it is time to take stock.

How do you know if someone else is pulling your Career Strings?

  • Are you currently working on a project or task that isn't what you want to do, but it is what you have been pigeonholed doing at your workplace?
  • Are your requests to change your position within the company being ignored because you are "so good at what you do that we couldn't do it without you" or words to that effect?
  • Did you enter your current work because someone else suggested it would be good for you, or because of subtle pressure from family?
  • Do you go to work each day, wishing you were going somewhere else but feeling like there is no alternative?
  • Do you have unresolved career dreams but others have told you that they are unrealistic or impractical so forget them?

It is time for you to take charge of your own career! You owe it to yourself. Being miserable at work is one of the greatest causes of stress and of subsequent health issues. It also flows through to your attitudes to every other aspect of your life, your relationships, your opportunities and your self-esteem.

So I challenge you to ask yourself who is pulling your career strings?

It is so easy to be overly optimistic, or even overly pessimistic if you do not have a good understanding of the realities that you are facing in your career change. Write down your true skills and honestly evaluate if your skills and experience are a good match for the work you are seeking and for any job advertisement which you are considering. If there's a good match then go for it! If there isn't, there is little point in applying for that job. You will be wasting your time and that of the person whose task is to review your application.

Have clear and precise goals, enhanced by some optimism and you will find yourself attracting success. Clarity of your goals is essential because if you know what you want, you will recognise it if the job is advertised or if you hear about the opportunity through your network. However, if you can't really explain to someone the sort of work that you ideally want to be doing then you probably aren't ready to start making your career change yet.

Do you have a deep understanding of the current labour market in your area of expertise? it is important to do some research and find out about salaries, conditions and current job descriptions in your industry to ensure you are up to date with what is expected of you. So often people apply for jobs and have their blinkers on to the reality of the labour market, then they wonder why they have difficulty getting work. The old dating adage "It's not you, it's me" so often applies to job applications. When people are unsuccessful in their applications it is easy to internalize it and perceive the rejection as failure. Yet usually it is just that they were not what the employer wanted, and if they'd read the advertisement properly they'd have realised that!

With determination and talent, complemented by strong employability skills, you can reach your ambitions. However, you need to be realistic and maintain your optimism, knowing you have done all you can do to improve your chances of a successful career change. Arm yourself awareness of the job market in your indsutry and deep self-knowledge and you will achieve your career dreams.

Career success is not something that is given on a golden platter. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and determination to achieve success in any aspect of our life. There will always be roadblocks along the way to a successful career.  
Employees aspiring to achieve better career results not only need to evaluate skills and attitudes that will make them successful in their chosen path, but they also need to consider the roadblocks they may face in achieving success.
Consider the following stumbling blocks to achieving a successful career:

  1. Fear of failure. Mistakes will always be part of our daily lives. Falling short and facing disappointments are common throughout life. Even the most successful people in the world had to deal with disappointments at one point in their life before they achieved success. To become great, you have to face failure. Learn from your failures and view them as opportunities to do better. Failures should not be viewed as barriers to success but should be considered stepping stones to achieving it.
  2. Procrastination. Delaying a day’s work will also delay your success potential. Laziness is a common culprit that stops people from succeeding. Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today. Don’t wait for the perfect time. It doesn’t exist.
  3. Unrealistic goals. While goals are important to achieve a successful career, unrealistic ones will result in frustration and discouragement. Set goals that are realistic and achievable within a set time-frame.
  4. Fatigue. No matter how determined a person is to achieve his desired career results, if he is constantly burnt out, he will eventually lose the motivation to work hard despite difficulties. Strive to achieve a good work and life balance. Work hard but don’t overdo it. Take some time to rest and enjoy quality time with family and friends. Enjoy short vacations once in a while. If your work fatigue persists, seek professional help.
  5. Having a hard time dealing with your boss. Having a difficult boss is common in many workplaces. A volatile relationship with your boss can result in ineffectiveness and job burnout. Be considerate and show respect for the boss’s role, even if you find it difficult to respect the person.  Don’t let the boss’s poor behaviour impact on your own high standards and expectations of yourself.  The organisation has performance expectations of you in your role, so always try to meet and surpass those expectations, despite the attitude of the person to whom you report. By doing this, you will earn the trust and respect of others around you, and can easily prove that you have done the right thing by the company if things get really nasty with the boss!  You should also practice careful communication in a situation like this, especially when airing issues with your boss, and consider it as great training in interpersonal negotiation.

Your career development is totally dependent on you so it is important that you work through any roadblocks you may have. Believe that you will succeed and achieve the career results you want. Nothing should stop you from achieving a successful career.