Take Charge of Your Career: 4 Tips

Take Charge of Your Career: 4 Tips

If you’ve ever held a job for any company, you’ve probably seen the following dynamic take place: A young recruit comes in the door, pleased with herself for having aced the interview and landed the offer. At first, her new gig feels like a personal victory. She worked hard, stayed focused, and scored the goal. She’s the hero of her own life story. So far, so good.

But during the next few months, without even realizing that it’s happening, she somehow gets edged out of the driver’s seat of her own life. She starts losing the sense that she’s in charge of her days and her destiny. She finds herself anxiously clinging to a few words of approval from the boss, judging her worth based on how others judge her, and just barely managing to stay on top of an overflowing inbox. And by the end of the year, she finds herself begging like a circus dog for a well-earned promotion or raise—or even scrambling to convince her employer that she deserves to keep working here, as if her position is a privilege or a gift.

What happened? How did this personal victory transform into a life sentence? And how can you avoid the same fate?

1. Think Like The Boss…Because You are the Boss

No matter where you stand in your employer’s corporate hierarchy, you actually own your own business. You’re the CEO, the President, and Chairman of the Board. The company is called You, Inc. and the buck stops with (insert your name here). Every decision made by this firm, every setback, every direction change, and every annual report will land on the desk of one person. That person will bear full responsibility for the good times and learn volumes from the bad times. But only if she maintains her grip on the wheel.

2. Conduct your Own Performance Reviews

When you’re the boss of your own career, you conduct your own annual reviews. Yes, you may have to go through the motions and sit through the reviews handed to you by your employers, but your employers can only provide only tiny piece of the larger picture. After all, they don’t know you. They don’t know what you want or where you’re headed, and they certainly can’t look into your heart and see how you define “success.” Yes, your annual review may be glowing, but that shouldn’t stop you from leaving the company if you’re ready for new challenges and a change of venue. And the opposite is also true: Don’t let your employer’s threats or warnings shape the future your see for your own enterprise.

3. Take “Praise” and “Criticism” with a Grain of Salt

Outside of your annual review process, take all forms of feedback—both positive and negative—with a bit of practical skepticism. Your employers have their own interests in mind, not yours. So when you’re praised for an action that you know in your heart was wrong, easy, or silly, recognize this. And when you’re harshly criticized for speaking the truth, standing up for others, protecting your company’s customers and stakeholders, or making an honest mistake, recognize that too.

4. Maintain your Autonomy

This is the most important responsibility you hold as the boss of your own company. When it’s time to leave your employer in order to advance your career, don’t wait.

Visit MyPerfectResume and start polishing your application. And when you’re ready to go, hit the road.