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How to manage your career when at cross roads?

WORK LIFE
By Goretti Kimani | July 11th 2014

Kenya: Every career person dreams of a straight and seamless path to success. But this sometimes remains a pipe dream. More often, you are likely to find yourself at a crossroads, unsure of the next turn. Take the case of Eliud, for example.

As a multi-talented individual, Eliud holds a double major degree in Administration and ICT. For several years he has worked in the ICT department. Recently however, his boss recommended him for an interdepartmental transfer, owing to his depressed performance in the department. However, Eliud thinks he is better off in ICT and is unsure of whether to take or turn down the offer.

Eliud’s case is a classic example of a career at a crossroads. The causes are as diverse as the individuals involved. Some people find themselves in this situation out of sheer ignorance. They take no initiative in choosing and planning for their career - effectively leaving others to do it for them. Others approach career and work matters casually. They do not make their intentions clear and leave plenty of room for assumptions. And yet others like Eliud will simply not do their job as required and in the process, leave a lot of to be desired.

Critical choice

Being at crossroads means that you have to make some radical choices. Whenever choices are concerned, information about each choice must be available for honest evaluation. For Eliud, several questions might help him make this critical choice such as: What does he really love doing? Would he rather be in general administration or ICT? How did he end up in this situation? What could he have done differently to avoid this situation? What are the consequences of turning down this offer?

At crossroads is a decisive stage that shows that change is imminent. It is a time to re-evaluate your career objectives. Once these are clear, corrective action must then follow. This might involve proper communication with your supervisor or boss. Periodic performance review presents a great chance for making your career intentions. You might also need to get back to school for additional courses or seminars to cement your desired footing.

Performers rarely find themselves at crossroads. They have already established their mark through work and leave little room for assumptions. As such, you should consider raising your performance profile to a new high. This might require changing your entire approach to work. This will call for improvement in your attitude, learning curve, communication skills and people skills. These skills, also called soft skills, can raise your performance standards in no time and put your career back on course.

 New position

In some cases, getting out of the crossroad might involve making some undesirable choices at least for the time being. For instance, Eliud may not have much choice but to take the job and strategise from a new position.You should also consider having a career coach to get you out of the rut. In some cases, professional career help might be required. Whatever you do, learn from your mistakes and move on but never let a crossroad be the end of your career.

 -The writer is a human resource specialist with Peoplelink Consultants Ltd. Email: [email protected]


 

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