Take Ownership of Your Career

One of the themes of this site is taking ownership of your own career.

Your employer does not own your career. Your parents do not own your career. Your friends do not own your career. Your teachers do not own your career.

You own your career.

Think about the cares and concerns that you must deal with on a daily basis. Work is certainly one of them. Also, you might have a family, pets, a house or apartment, a vehicle, relationships, and so forth.

All of these (and much more) require daily care and maintenance.

Guess what? Everyone else I mentioned — even your friends and relatives who love you and want to see you be successful — have their own list of items that take up precious time out of their day. Their primary vested interest is in themselves and what can benefit them.

The last thing you can expect them to worry about is the long-term progress of your career. If you sit by and wait for someone else to “hold your hand” through the ups and downs, challenges and threats of your career development, you will be in for disappointment.

Maybe you have never considered that your career is yours. Maybe it is time for a wake-up call to start thinking and acting like an owner.

How does an owner process decisions? What are the behavior patterns of an owner? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Long-term thinking – As compared to a short-timer who is here today and gone tomorrow, someone who takes ownership is in it for the long haul. If short-term challenges arise, don’t immediately cut and run. Evaluate the prospect of long-term upside potential to decide whether to press on or change course. Either way, when you own your career, you make decisions that will benefit you in the long-run.
  • Vested interest – As compared to someone who will just use up and wear out valuable resources and capital, an owner seeks to maximize return on investment. This means an owner is willing to make sacrifices to obtain a greater reward in the future. Effective career development takes time, thought, energy, and even money. Someone with a vested interest — ownership — is more likely to undertake these sacrifices.
  • Protective and responsible – An owner is not reckless, but wise and thoughtful in stewarding resources. When you take ownership of your career you are more likely to make good choices to maintain your integrity and guard your reputation. You will desire to seek ways for self-improvement to be the best you can be in your chosen field.
  • Active vs. passive – An owner is goal-oriented and aggressive. Rather than letting life and work happen to you, be the one who makes things happen.

Much more could be said about the motives, goals, and enduring success of someone who takes ownership. What is one specific change you can make today to shift your thinking and actions toward taking ownership of your career?