Organizations spend considerable amounts of time determining what changes in the global marketplace will materially affect the implementation of their strategic plans. A common analysis tool used to consider these changes and trends is the P.E.S.T. acronym. Clarifying what political, economic, social, and technological factors that will influence the growth of a business is key to laying a strong foundation for meaningful action. A similar analysis can be completed and applied to the achievement of your personal career goals. We tend to not look at ourselves as though we are the CEO of our own brand, but it is a great lens through which to frame our growth. Here are three trends changing the way Thunderbirds manage their careers.
Career Ladder is now a Jungle Gym
Since the beginning of the Great Recession, organizations have driven profits and productivity by shedding full-time workers and allowing technology to complete those tasks. Many organizations have had to become flatter and more nimble to compete globally, and, as a result, cradle-to-grave employment struggles to exist in a number of developed nations. I would expect more non-wage amenities to be offered and become increasingly important to employees as the level of remuneration stagnates or declines.
Perhaps, we need to reframe assigning success to a person who’s stayed with one employer for an extended period of time to a place where we think of our career as a series of meaningful experiences. If you view yourself as a “free agent” and begin making career moves that allow you to package your knowledge, skills, and abilities into a salable product that can traverse from employer to employer without fear of income loss, you’ll likely feel more accomplished, succeed faster, and make a bigger impact. I encourage you to not always look for a financial or title promotion. Instead, consider how a backward or lateral move will help you take on challenging assignments to develop complementary skills or find more meaning in your life.
Work-life Balance is a Myth
Using a justice scale as a metaphor, there will only ever be one point at which your work and life are in balance. It may be unrealistic to strive for this point. Instead, search for meaningful engagement in your personal and professional selves. According to Gallup, only 13% of employees internationally are actively engaged in their work. Taking the time to truly develop your personal mission, vision, and value proposition [http://magazine.thunderbird.edu/article/how-create-your-personal-brand] will help lay a solid foundation on which you manage the growth of your career. Be comfortable with saying “no” and establish boundaries about what you will and will not participate in.
In Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, he discusses how monetary rewards are becoming less important to workers. More and more people are searching for work that provides a deeper, intrinsic motivation. Find a career that provides you with autonomy in your daily activity, the ability to master or be great at your chosen profession, and to serve a purpose larger than your own. A great way to help discover that motivation is to complete personality inventories. Consider reading this article to help you identify an inventory that will best support your development. When you’re passionate about your job, you’re excited, you work longer hours, and are more productive.
Importance of Relationships
Whether your goals are personal or professional, you’ll be able to achieve them faster if you understand how generating value for your stakeholders will come back to benefit you. When you meet someone, immediately do something that helps to advance his or her career. After supporting his or her growth, it’s much easier to ask for support in return. To foster more development, I would advocate for you to form a personal board of directors that supports your march towards the fulfillment of your personal mission.
According to ere.net, only 25% of available jobs are online and the rest are found via networking and relationships. Employee referral programs have long been an inexpensive source of networked and high-quality candidates. Organizations are posting fewer positions on job boards and have shifted focus to employment brand building via social media channels. Job seekers should select 8 – 10 target employers and spend more time networking with those organization’s stakeholders, online and in person, and be referred into their dream job. Additionally, there is a forced transparency by social media that allows recruiters to learn more about candidates while searching sites such as LinkedIn. To build your LinkedIn profile, watch this video. I suggest you ensure that all of your social media content is appropriate, is true to your personal brand, and displays how you live the Thunderbird Oath of Honor and “out-behave” others.
The above societal trends are changing the way we manage the growth of our careers. Regularly conducting a P.E.S.T. analysis of the environment around you will ensure that you proactively choose a course that allows you to be the CEO of your personal brand. I encourage you to devote time as much time as possible to self-development, finding a career that inspires you, and leveraging relationships for mutually beneficial outcomes.
If you sacrifice today, you’ll position yourself well for tomorrow.
[This article has been reproduced with permission from Knowledge Network, the online thought leadership platform for Thunderbird School of Global Management https://thunderbird.asu.edu/knowledge-network/]