Your day-to-day job is not the same as your career. Your job is but a subset, and your career is made up of each successive job, as well as your accomplishments, publications, keynotes, branding and networks. Therefore, doing well, even spectacularly well, in your current role, is helpful to your career but not sufficient. With roles becoming more broadly defined and communication (and accountability) running 24/7, how do you carve time out of your day-to-day for not just your job but also your career?
Use parallel processing. I’ve blogged about balancing personal and professional goals using parallel processing. In this case, there are also two distinct and separate goals – your job and your career. You need different time, focus and activity on each, and the ability to maintain each in tandem with the other. Recognize this, accept it and schedule accordingly.
Use your job as a springboard for career planning. Collect testimonials and references from your current work. Join relevant trade associations that will help get your job done but also provide a broader network outside your immediate role. Use insights learned from your current job (nothing confidential, of course) to share with a wider platform via publishing or speaking at conferences.
Use your career management activities to make you more effective in your job. When you network outside the company, even outside your industry, don’t feel guilty about taking time away from your current work – use the different perspectives gleaned to add new dimensions to your current projects. Think about what your current company needs and who in your broader network might be helpful. In this way, you give to your company, you give to your network, and you strengthen your connections both ways.
This is not about working double-time. It is about having awareness that just executing the daily grind is not enough. You do not want to look up from your desk next July 2011 and be exactly where you are, not having connected with anyone or not having accomplishments known to the outside. Your job and career are separate entities, and both need attention.
Caroline Ceniza-Levine helps people find fulfilling and financially rewarding careers, as the co-founder of SixFigureStart®, career coaching by former Fortune 500 recruiters. As a former executive search and corporate recruiter for over 10 years, Caroline has hired thousands of people for leading companies in financial services, consulting, media, pharmaceutical/ healthcare, and technology. She is also the co-author (along with Donald Trump, Jack Canfield and others) of the best-selling “How the Fierce Handle Fear: Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times” 2010; Two Harbors Press. Caroline is a 2010 grant recipient of the Jones New York Empowerment Fund and a performer with the comedy group Comic Diversity.