Consider for a moment the mental shift of working “for” to seeing your value and working “with”. Imagine for the next year showing up daily with your plan of how you will “partner” with your current employer to significantly improve your professional livelihood. Could having a professional plan for your career make that much difference? Over the years, roughly 10% of candidates I’ve worked with in mid to senior level roles had a written career plan. Yes, you are correct in your thoughts about these people; high achievers and well networked beginning in school continued into the workplace. They know what experience they want to earn and how that experience will help them advance their career. So, are these people and their strategies too unique to adapt to your own career? Hardly the case….your professional growth plan is actually well worth the little bit of time it takes to commit to paper. Here are 3 assignments to get you started. 

Honestly assess what you currently get paid to do. What is the long version (write it down) of what your responsibilities are? Who do you report to and what from your perspective are their expectations of you? What KPI’s are used to evaluate your performance? How does your performance actually fit the expectations of your boss? Be objective; are you actually a good investment for the company, do you do a good job?

If you set out to explain to your boss how to best manage and develop you what would you say? Again, the long written version please. Think this through. How would she improve in managing you? What do you need that is just missing from your relationship? What do you feel would change things for the best for both of you? What do you think your boss needs to improve upon in order to be more upwardly mobile in their own career? How could your performance help them advance?

What are a couple things that you know about yourself that might make managing you a unique challenge? Now, what makes you easy to manage? Describe on paper your work ethic. Who is the person that you are modeling your work behaviors after? What are qualities they have you wish you had more of? What specific skills do you believe you will need to learn and develop to advance your career? What would you do with these new skills? What would then be your new responsibilities?

Take a few minutes to reread the last three paragraphs. Can you picture the value you will receive by completing this exercise? I have found this to be roughly an hour to complete each of these three assignments. The daydreaming that will come to you once you get started is actually the hidden value of the whole process. All great adventures are simply daydreams put to paper and then into action. Your career is no different. Many professionals are waiting for the magic moment to occur to them when actually the magic so to speak occurs internally. Maybe today is your day for your shift to occur.

Once you have completed your assignments be big enough to ask your boss for 30 minutes to discuss. Many a career has taken off once one begins to carry themselves in a bigger way.