CAREER DEVELOPMENT / FEB. 07, 2015
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How to Prepare for a Career Discussion with Your Manager

In the script of your life, you are the star, and the future is in your hands. You must take the lead in your career to ensure you live your dreams to the fullest. One way to ensure this is by discussing your career with your boss. Understand that it can either scare your boss if he thinks you are unhappy or challenge him to create more growth opportunities for you. Either way, the discussion can help shape your career path. There are different factors to consider when preparing for the talk:

Mission Statement

Think of your career as an organization; you are on a mission to accomplish set goals. In the journey to your goals, you need a mission statement that continually reminds you of the future and the steps you have taken so far. Write down this mission statement to define your future aspirations and guide the discussion with your manager.

Values that Drive You

As a child you lost your dog; a stranger spent the whole afternoon helping you look for it, and helped you find your way home. Ever since, you always find ways to help those around you in your personal and professional life. Are there other values that guide you? Make a list of all your life’s values and their importance to the decisions you make in your professional life with an intention to share them with your boss.

Create a Plan

The discussion will give your career a 360-degree approach; it will focus on the past, the present and the future. To ensure you have a fruitful discussion, prepare your career plan to include long- and short-term goals. However, avoid sensitive information, such as plans to leave the company as it may threaten your position in the company.

Write Your Job Description

Your present position informs decisions you make about the future. Carry your job description to the meeting and include additional tasks that do not appear in the official document. Highlight tasks you believe will be instrumental in the future with a section for tasks you would like to add to your current job description or relegate to your subordinates.

Set Up a Meeting

The discussion can only take place if you and your boss are present. Send out an email or make a call to schedule a meeting and highlight your objectives in the request to help your manager prepare. Follow up to confirm the meeting is on, and reschedule appropriately if necessary.

Ask for What You Want

Your career is not always a priority for your boss; however, a discussion with your boss is important to you. Communicate that to your boss and follow up to ensure the meeting happens. Remember that you have control over the discussion and your boss is more of an advisor; she can only act on the information you present.

Conclusion

You are in charge of your career, and you cannot give anyone else control. With this information, understand that the discussion may not meet your expectations. However, take it as a learning opportunity whether you get positive or negative feedback.

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