Starting out in your career is an exciting time. I can remember starting out in accountancy as a 15 year old Payments Clerk. At that time it was all pretty straightforward. I knew I wanted to learn and move up the career ladder.
No doubt it was similar for you. In the early days it was pretty easy. You just kept moving forward. You probably went on to gain qualifications in accountancy or your professional field and perhaps did something like an MBA.
Your career seems to moving in the right direction. Then something happens. You reach the level where you have to start making choices. Being a generalist is no longer an option and you have to make decisions.
At this stage most of us realise that what we have done so far in moving forward in our career is not going to work any longer. If you are like most people you probably have never sat down and really considered what you want from your career.
When I sit down with clients I never cease to be amazed by the lack of clarity that people have. Yet clarity about what we want impacts on the choices and decisions we make. This in turn has a direct impact on the results that are achieved.
The first thing to do is to define what career success means for you. In the early stages of our career earning more money is often what counts. This is completely understandable. However, you soon reach a point of what I call indifference. At this point salary becomes of less importance and other factors start to become more important.
Next consider the types of environment where you are likely to prosper. Some people really love to be part of a big organisation where there is scope to move around jobs and perhaps even work overseas. Others are more attracted to a smaller organisation where they can be a big cog in a small wheel and get the opportunity to be part of the wider organisational success.
Also consider the type of industries that you would like to work in. A lot of accountants think that financial services is the place to be. Others are attracted to fast moving consumer goods or technology organisations. Some like to be part of manufacturing organisations where they see the product made. For others the organisation purpose will be vitally important.
Next think about the types of people you want to work with. You spend more of your time in work than you do most other things. The people who you work with have a huge impact on your motivation. If for example you are highly dynamic and always wanting to move things forward you are going to find it tough to work with those set in their ways.
Finally be clear about the sacrifices you are willing to make. The fact of the matter is that moving up the career ladder will involve sacrifices. People might tell you that you can have it all. You can of course minimise the amount of time you spend in work by being highly productive and well organised. At the same time you cannot get the rewards that go with career success without making some sacrifices.
Duncan Brodie works with accountants who want to achieve more career success. He invites you to sign up for his free report The 7 Biggest Barriers To Having A Successful Career In Accountancy
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.