CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 24, 2014
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How to Avoid Making Your Career Move Sideways

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In pursuit of our career goals, there’s a path we’ve got to stick to despite numerous distractions that constantly push us away from the main course. These distractions can range from material ambition to a lifestyle upgrade and social status elevation. They’re usually attractive and impressive short-cuts but they come with heavy long-term repercussions on our career goals and dreams. Unfortunately, many careerists fall prey to such deceptive yet lucrative distractions and end up making a career move sideways. Which begs the question, how should you avoid making your career move sideways?

#1 Have a clearly defined Career RoadMap
The main reason why some career goals seem distant and unachievable is simply because we don’t have a clue as to how we’ll achieve them. I tend to perceive career goals like the sky. From the ground, the sky seems distant and untouchable. Yet, if we put in the concept of a pilot, an air plane and flying ticket, then we realize that a roadmap to touching the sky has been defined by costs, travelling and laws of physics. Similarly, we’ve got to realize that a career roadmap should be practical, feasible and well-defined. It should be like a map with directions, topography, distance, dead ends and junctions. This will significantly aid in getting rid of any smokescreens of impossibilities that might force us to make our career move sideways.

#2 Have Concrete and Realistic Career Goals
During our primary school days, having a career goal was a simple Q&A affair. Being a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer and so forth was solely dependent on the scope of our imagination. However, adulthood has curved out the reality of our career hopes and dreams by exposing us to the job market on the ground. Those who fail to embrace this reality find themselves at crossroads and end up being mere career move experimenters. With time, they realize that they unconsciously made numerous career moves sideways as they were carried away by the fantasies of their invalid childhood dreams. It’s thus essential to tame our career goals by having concrete definitions as per the job market reality on the ground.

#3 Take a Step at a Time by using the Divide and Conquer Strategy
Some careerists are constantly haunted by the magnitude of their career journey because they constantly have the entire picture on their mind. This will definitely push us into making a career move sideways. Yet, we tend forget that the basic activities we indulge in everyday are achieved by the divide and conquer strategy. For instance, the food on our plate can’t get to our tummies without taking a spoonful at a time. Otherwise, swallowing the whole thing would choke us to death. It’s no wonder that we feel choked and defeated when we solely focus on the entire career journey and consequently make a career move sideways. Wisdom calls for simplicity and convenience in your career journey by tackling one career challenge at a time.

#4 Constantly remind yourself about the repercussions of losing track
In as much as we ought to stay optimistic in our career journey, we should carefully calculate our steps by considering the repercussions of making a career move sideways. Consulting career mentors and acquaintances regarding prior career move mistakes would be a very effective source of such testimonials. There are also numerous books by authors whose lives revolved around numerous career move mistakes. You can also follow up on career blogs such as CareerAddict.com which is a global and reputable source of career lessons. This will definitely redefine the true worth of our career journey and give more credence to our efforts.

#5 Cling to ideals of Discipline, Determination, Dedication and Diligence
Though many careerists tend to think that passion is all it takes to achieve a successful career life, that isn’t always the case. There are times that you’ll be discouraged, tired, stressed out and overwhelmed by work-related issues even in your passionate career. This might compel you to make a career move sideways during your moment of utmost weakness. A wise careerist however is strong in season and out of season. This ’make it or make it’ mentality is what separates disciplined, determined, dedicated and diligent careerists from the mediocre pack. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that everyone has something to complain about, but only the strong know that grumbling won’t make the bread grow larger.

#6 Have Detour Contingency Measures in case of Unanticipated setbacks
Sometimes our career journey presents us with rude surprises in the form of insurmountable setbacks that demand for a detour of contingency measures. A good example is the recent recession being experienced in many countries around the world. Many careerists decided to freelance and haven’t looked back due to the outstanding results they’ve experienced along the way. This goes to show the importance of having an ’insurance package’ that will keep you going even when tough times compel you to make a career move sideways.

#7 Have Faith and Confidence in yourself by overcoming the Self-Doubt factor
Some self-doubting careerists have found themselves making a career move sideways when their career goals seemed too big for them. This might be as a result of their unfavourable childhood backgrounds, limited resources or low self-esteem and it’s quite unfortunate how unfair life can be. However, we’ve got to realize that life is basically a game of the mind and that our current circumstances are but a manifestation of the thoughts that have a stronghold in our minds. Sticking to your career path isn’t a walk in the park and you’re highly likely to encounter challenges that will hurt your self-esteem and infect your motivation with a victim mentality. But having a fighting spirit will give you the necessary antidote to rise up and walk again. In the end, you’re the captain of the ship and it’s up to you to determine how far you can go.

In as much as we put much effort into maintain our career paths, making a career move sideways at some point might actually be our inevitable fate. For some of us, we’ve recently been forced to change our careers altogether considering the recent spate of collapsed industries as a result of tough global competition. For others, it might be a calling to pursue a passionate cause for better career fulfilment. However, just because the path has changed doesn’t mean that the feasibility of our career goals has been nullified. Instead, it’s a calling for us to constantly update our career goals for better adaptation to prevalent social, economic and political trends.

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