Don’t Sweat about Your Career Path

There is little question that most companies these days expect us to take control of our own career paths. Increasingly, we are also being encouraged to look within ourselves to manage our work/life balance and maintain our levels of stress.
For many of us, it’s no easy feat. Don’t sweat it – we’re here to help!

How to advance in your career

The days of joining as a junior and working your way up the company until your retirement are long gone. Is the idea of the career path about to go into retirement? For many of us, the answer is yes. The ladder for progression is more of a series of vines, these days. That’s why it’s important to develop skills and plot out each turn in your career. Milestones and measurement are what it’s all about.

Grow your knowledge and skills

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It’s amazing how easily these steps can fall off the radar in a job where you are constantly busy or feeling demotivated. Our tip? Make time for them – they’re crucial. Figure out your knowledge gaps and where you need a bit more training, and fix it.

  • Read as much as you can – articles, blogs, newsletters, ingest them all and share points of interest with your co-workers.
  • Take online courses – there are plenty of them out there, and some are free.
  • Enrol in further study – let your boss know that you need a specific course in order to succeed. You may get support: finance, time off, etc.
  • Book conferences – if you find an event that is relevant to your job or career, attend. Take notes and photos and present your learnings back.

Get outside your comfort zone and make these areas part of your job. If you can establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your organisation, it is extremely valuable at annual review time.

Build mutually beneficial relationships

Networking isn’t just a buzz word. Having a diverse group of co-workers and mentors around you is an excellent way to bounce ideas around and get some honest, useful feedback.

Getting the most out of the relationships you have in the workplace means understanding how to communicate with different people and being able to bring out the best in each other. In the case of influential people in your organisation, understand their motivations, needs, and pain points, and make yourself an invaluable part of the solution.

Maintain great mental and physical health

As encompassing and effective as workplace work/life balance policy and company culture can be, at the end of the day – our wellbeing is in our own hands.
If we are tired and overworked, we become unwell and demotivated. Our work suffers, our relationships suffer, our career grinds to a standstill, and our lives are generally not a picture of happiness and health.

How to de-stress at work

We all get stressed at work from time to time. Whether an email won’t send, a co-worker is making your life harder, or you have an impossible deadline to meet… the reasons are endless. The good news is – so are the solutions. Take accountability for the way you react and respond. Soon you’ll find yourself being much less tense.

Know yourself

Do you know your triggers? Are there certain situations that set you off? More often than not, that reaction is a bad habit. Identify the pattern and train yourself to react in ways that are kinder on your mental health. Focus on what you can control and try to let go of the pressures of everything else.

Quick tip: Stimulating the point between your thumb and index finger can reduce muscle tension and relieve stress. If you’re feeling tense, apply pressure to the ‘webbing’ for a few moments and breathe slowly.

Be a planner

When we complete a task, no matter how small, it creates a feeling of accomplishment and self-worth. Planning your day out into manageable tasks helps to bring order and limits interruptions. Schedule your work into achievable tasks and avoid things like instant messages and emails for a while.

Quick tip: Breathing slowly in through your mouth, with pursed lips, and then out through your nose has a calming effect. If you feel yourself entering a tense situation, take a moment to breathe this way before you react or even speak. You’ll probably notice people around you getting calmer too.

Ultimately, the better you feel the better your work will be – from your personal interactions to your deliverables. That sort of thing rarely goes unnoticed. With growing skills and determination to drive you, there’s no reason to sweat about your career path.