An important part of your career progression is constantly developing yourself. Sometimes, that means having the conversation with your boss about where you see yourself in a year, 5 years, and eventually where you want your career to go. This can be an intimidating process as you don’t want to come off like you are trying to jump ship, but your boss can be the key to new opportunities and doors being open. Before you go in and sit down with your boss, you need to actually figure out where you want your career to go.
- Begin with your interests. Follow the guideline below and fill in the blanks. Using the general “RIASEC Code” foundation, break down all your interests into the following categories. You may notice that some categories may have more items written in them than others. You may also find that some categories may have negative memories or feeling in them as well. We’ll break all of this down in step 2.
- Realistic – Do you prefer things over ideas or people? What are those things? What things do you enjoy doing outside? What tools do you like to use? What sort of machines do you enjoy using and operations? Do you enjoy interacting with animals? What do you like to create with your hands?
- Investigative – What sort of activities do you enjoy that involve thought, observation, investigation, exploration, and discovery? Do you like to solve problems, perform experiments, and conduct research? When were you most successful in this area?
- Artistic – Do you prefer to work with ideas, abstractions, and concepts? What sort of projects and creations have you done that may have been literal, verbal, visual, and/or aesthetic? Do you get lost in time creating art, music, dance, drawing, painting, sculpting, drafting, writing, drama, communicating, design, or fashion? Think of all the times you may have found joy (or misery?) in those activities.
- Social – What are some of your favorite volunteer activities? How large is your diverse, social network? What charities or organizations do you tend to support? Think about a time you had to do a group project. How did it go? What was the outcome?
- Enterprising – Think about a time when you had to take on a leadership role. What was teh situation? What was the outcome? Did you have to get savvy and political to get to the end result? How do you feel when you have to speak in front of a large group? Have you ever been in a debate and won your position? What was it? How did you feel? What does competition mean to you?
- Conventional – Have you ever had to create manuals, processes, or procedures and enjoyed it? Do you like writing rules and following regulations? Did you tend to take classes in accounting, statistics, or other math-related courses and enjoy it?
Go through each category and take some time answering the questions. As you begin putting down your thoughts, you will start to see patterns of thought. There will be categories where you feel more positive memories for and there will be other categories where you have less to say.
The next few steps will take you through how to determine your strengths based on your interest, align your values, and rate your skills. This is all a baseline for you to have and understand about yourself in order to have an open and honest conversation with your boss about career development.
Did you ever start college wholeheartedly thinking you were going to achieve a certain degree to follow a path, but then ended up going a totally different route? What happened?