A simple question? Perhaps not. Certainly it seems a question many people don’t seem to ask themselves; or maybe they’re just too busy to do so? It is an important distinction though. Neither is wrong or right, it’s what best suits you; as long as you are making the choice. The problem comes when you start out thinking you have a career, then before you know it, you just have a job. Now having a job is fine, as long as you like that job, or as long as it serves your purposes. It pays the bills, hopefully. Maybe for a variety or reasons you just want to plod on, nothing too stressful, nothing too complicated, just a nice job that pays the bills, puts some money in your pocket, and suits your life situation. Absolutely nothing wrong with that if that is your choice.
Time and time again though I come across people who think they have career, but they don’t. They have a job, and if they aren’t happy, then they look for another job, and they call that a career. Changing job isn’t necessarily a ‘career move’.
Of course there are times when situations dictate. If you’re made redundant, lose your driving license, something changes and you just need another job to pay the bills, and to suit, or deal with the new circumstances. But those times aside (and in reality how often does that really happen? Not often, and not to everyone) how often do you think of, let alone plan your career?
A career is a journey, and like any journey you need a map, a plan, a destination in mind. Now of course like any journey sometimes things change, or the route ends up being different than expected, but you should always have the destination in mind, and try to get there in the end. The analogy works well, like a journey your career needs to be planned and thought through if you are to be sure to get where you want to go, via the best and most efficient route. Be realistic about time-frames, you can’t get from London to Madrid in half an hour, nor can you get from graduate trainee to CEO in two years. You may need to make a few stops along the way (change companies), you may need to get a better car (new skills, qualifications or experiences) and you may need to just sit and deal with a traffic jam or two (put in the hard yards to gain the experience you need to move on in future).
Most candidates we work with and place aren’t actively seeking a job, most are aware of where they are, where they want to get to, and are open to opportunities that will help them to get there. We work with our candidates, as career coaches as much as search/recruitment consultants. We take time to listen to your career plan, and often help consult and contribute towards that plan, and when the perfect opportunity comes up, we can help make it happen. Sometimes the perfect opportunity knocks at your door when you don’t expect it, or necessarily want it to, and sometimes it can take a long time to find. We work with our candidates to define a career trajectory, and then be on the look for those perfect opportunities, aware and comfortable that it may take week, it may take a month, it may take a year.
Have you got a career plan? If not you may want to sit down and have a think about what you want it to be, and how you want to get there. If you are in the solar or renewables industry, our area of expertise, then we’d be happy to talk and see if we can help you on that journey.