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Growing Your Career is a Deliberate Act

Author: Nicole Blackband, Junior School Teacher 

05 Apr 2016

Janine Walker, Director at UniRecruit, states there are three ingredients in the recipe to a career in leadership. These include an individual’s skills and capabilities, their networks and connections and their tolerance. If emphasis is placed on the growth and development of all three of these areas, then career possibilities are more likely to be forthcoming. Not to forget a certain amount of serendipity, simply being in the right place at the right time when things just seem to fall into place. But not without a lot of hard work first.    

When examining these three concepts more thoroughly; skills and capabilities refer to an individual’s ability to successfully carry out the tasks involved in their position. Karen Spiller, Principal of St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School, used the analogy of human development, from the initial baby phase through toddler, child and adolescent stages until obtaining your adult title and qualifications. The daily routines become less premeditated and more instinctive. Not unlike driving a manual car and not having to think every time you take your foot off the clutch. As a novice, humility is key, and the ability to admit when you are wrong or need advice. 

Janine Walker then refers to a person’s connections as professional relationships that require an individual to broaden their scope beyond their immediate environment. These must include governing organisations, external networks, like-minded people in other fields, social media and expanding professional exposure at events by presenting, coordinating or hosting. There is always an element of who you know, that will open doors in the future. It is advantageous to have a sponsor, an advocate who willingly puts your name forward where suitable.

Tolerance by definition seems fairly obvious, however it has many influencing factors. For instance, the personal restrictions you put on yourself and your career mobility. This involves more than just location. It encompasses lifestyle choices, family commitments, proximity to relatives, attachment to current place of work, as well as time commitment and daily travel. An individual’s tolerance usually varies depending on what stage of life they are in. Career opportunities can be enhanced or limited by how much you can commit; physically, emotionally and logistically. Tolerance factors are unique to each individual. Only you (and possibly your partner) can define what your boundaries are and how far you can and are willing to grow them.

An individual who is self-aware, reflective in their practice and ready for change will embrace career opportunities by ‘Leaning In’ (a concept Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook presents). Janine Walker promotes fostering deliberate growth in these three facets of professional development will allow an individual to manage their own career via forward planning.