Happenstance Careers

Happenstance Careers

Most people manage their career by happenstance. They happen to meet someone… they happen to see an ad…they happen to get a call from a recruiter. And all of a sudden, they are 40 years old and not sure what they really want to do for the next 20 years.


This is where career coaching comes in. Coaching is a formal methodology used to determine the skills that you love to use on the job, the quality of life you are seeking, and the values that are important to you, and from that, determine the roles that get you excited to get up in the morning. It is a deliberate career planning process that puts you on the right career path and sets a plan in motion for you to get where you want to be. Even after securing a position, many people use a coach to help them manage their performance on the job.

Angela recently worked with me with these goals in mind. She hated her job and was not sure what her next step should be. In drilling down to the details of her job and her feelings, I discovered real excitement and enthusiasm for the job she held and the people she worked with, so I asked her what made her hate her job. The answer was her boss, an old school boy kind of guy who was just trying to surf out the next 12 months to his retirement. He didn’t recognize her accomplishments, he didn’t support her and he took credit for her work. (Did you know that your boss is the number 1 reason people love or hate their jobs)?

I coached her on managing her boss (a whole other subject) and advised her, before quitting the job, to try out some techniques. She did and came back thrilled that she and her boss had reached an agreement that gave her the freedom and support she needed. I then asked her to consider a plan to take over her boss’s position after he retired – something she had never considered. She deliberately sought relationships with the key influencers and decision makers to get on their radar screen. The result: even before her boss retired, she was promoted to a new position, got a raise from $55,000 to $85,000 and is now in line for other higher positions. Her enthusiasm is back and she looks forward to going to work in the morning.

So what did I do? Nothing more than helping her examine her thought processes and experiences. Sometimes it helps to have an impartial, carefully listening ear to help you see the opportunities around you. Angela is a very hard worker and is focused on doing a great job. So Angela now consults with me once a month where I can lift her head out of the trenches and make sure she is strategically managing her career by recognizing the threats and opportunities she has in front of her.

Big change from managing by happenstance, isn’t it?

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