Become a Career Activist
Published: Aug 27, 2008
What’s missing? A commitment to effective career self-management. That activity is often confused with the continuing education that marks a savvy careerist, but in actuality, it’s very different. Professional development provides the continuous learning that is essential for a successful career, but it cannot achieve that end by itself. Only savvy career self-management can do that because it alone encompasses professional development and all of the other activities that will ensure you achieve the goals to which you aspire at work. It is a big job and one that only you can offer to yourself and only you can accept. I call it appointing yourself your very own “career activist.”
What does the role entail? It is the practice of:
In short, a career activist accepts the responsibility of taking charge of their career. They commit to investing the time and effort necessary to accomplish goals they will cherish both during and after the one-third of their lives they will spend at work.
Now, I know what you’re thinking so let’s get it right out in the open right now. It’s hard enough these days to do everything you have to do in the job you already have, so why would you want to take on the additional burden—the extra work—of being a career activist? In my view, there are at least several reasons for doing so.
First, too many employers today act like bullies. These organizations talk a good game about the importance of their workers, but the way they manage them belies their words. In reality, they view you as a cog, not a cognitive being. They view human resources as the management of a supply chain of disposable carbon-based widgets, not as the leadership of human beings with talents to be engaged in the accomplishment of a mutually beneficial mission. In that kind of perverse environment, you have only two choices:
A career pacifist gives up and lets the bullies push them around; a career activist confronts the bullies by taking matters into their own hands.
Second, we now have a better understanding of what proactive career self-management entails. It is a personal commitment to doing all of the following:
Career activists see the accomplishment of these tasks as their primary occupation while the work they do for employers is a second job. That’s not self-indulgence; it’s savvy career self-management. By ensuring that they are always at the top of their own game, they also ensure that they will deliver a fulsome return on investment to the organizations that employ them.
Finally, for the first time in history, you now have easy access to the tools and information you need to be an effective career activist. All you need is access to the Internet. Whether you use your own computer and Internet service provider, the local library’s or a government employment center, you can find all of the following and more online:
Career activists take advantage of these resources in a planned and methodical way that ensures they will always have the knowledge, the insight and the tools they need to achieve their career goals.
In the 20th Century, it didn’t matter all that much if you ignored your career except for those rare times when you were actually looking for a new or better job. Try and do that in the 21st Century, and you’re likely to find yourself pushed around and even knocked down by bullying employers. In today’s world of work, only the fit will survive, and the only way to get fit is to be a career activist.
Thanks for reading,