taking charge of your career

you have spent the last few years hunkering down in the hope that things will get better!

the appraisal comes

the appraisal goes.

the timeline

who knows?

in my case, the whole business of career progression was a raging sea.

i could never pin anyone down to a semi-precise set of criteria. as a consequence, the process of assailing the partnership wall was like climbing a ladder with a set of invisible rungs.

my billing – in excess of £300k got me … n-o-w-h-e-r-e.

i am not bitter. no seriously.

i am me,


good luck (seriously) if you are hanging in there.

the money.

of course, in the end it will be worth it.

6 figures is so hip.

in my case, i thought that if i was too forward in my demands that i would get labelled part of the awkward squad and get passed over for that reason alone. but, in hindsight, i wish i had been more demanding.

the problem with career planning is that we measure our progress by reference to what we see around us.

we make our plans to conform to the system.

but what if we had total freedom to plan our career?

what would you do?

promote yourself?

i am not a great advocate of blue sky thinking:

it’s not that i don’t believe it exists, it’s just that the business is not set up for anything radical or extreme largely because managers are incapable of risking their livelihood at the altar of unpredictability.

if i have heard the words ‘business case’ mentioned once, i have heard it mentioned 1,000 times.

but WTF does it mean?

how can you come up with a ‘case’ for something that has never been done before?

gut instinct

it feels right

a hunch

who knows.

these are the criteria of the thinker, dreamer, philosopher or innovator.

but enterprise seeks


not a radicalisation of the business model because that is just so imponderable.

now i know i might be talking in language that is alien to a lot of people, but i am seriously vexed by the risk quotient: the ability of commerce to take un-calculated risks.

the market is down on its knees, so in a sense whether it is your career or the business model, what have you to got to lose?

you want success.

you want it in bucket loads.

but are you willing to commit yourself to something that is tangential to your normal way of thinking?

you have lost faith.

if i had my time again then the driver would have been to do great work and nothing more.

but i had a bucket load of crap to deal with (and so do you).

you think that people will (should?) respect you more because you can ascribe to the job title. the trouble is it doesn’t mean anything to your clients. they just want to instruct the best person in the world.

if you think back to your earliest memory of why you chose your career, you would do well to try and separate out the intrinsic from the extrinsic motivators.

in my case, money was not a motivator.

it’s not that i suffered from lack thinking but rather it was the ‘experience’ of working with clients and making a difference that kept me in the game. yes, i expected to be rewarded and provide for my family, but, as i said to my wife on more that one occasion, i didn’t want to be subsumed by a pair of Golden Handcuffs.

if you are in the game to further yourself, and it seems to come to an abrupt end or the way ahead looks murky, then go back to the start. ask yourself why you got into the game.

did you honestly start out to be [insert]?

it may seem far too whimsical and not apposite for a blog post, but remind yourself of the importance of what you do, the difference you make and your passion to make a difference.

whilst it is true to say that too few of us really know why we chose one thing over another, nevertheless, the  genesis of the idea is still there, even if buried beneath a slew of BS.

if you are focused on your career – and you should  be – then seek out some straight answers to your (not-so-straight) questions.

“why haven’t you recognised my contribution?”

“what is stopping me from progression?”

“cut the BS, just tell me what i have to do in order to progress.”

your career is super important.

it doesn’t deserve a cursory look once a year or the uncalled for criticism – i wish employers would spend more time focusing on what you have done right.

take charge.

adopt a battle cry.

pump yourself up.

don’t lose hope.

yes, its’ a long road, but if you sustain your belief in the truisms that got you into the job in the first place, then you will get there in the end, even if the title doesn’t wash up on the shore.

your career.

go make it happen.

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