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12.8 Chapter Review and Exercises

Getting any one job is only one step to building a career. Your career is made up of many jobs where you will add to your skills, experience, and relationships. At the same time, your career is built one job at a time. You need to do well in the job you have currently, not just look to more responsibility before you have mastered the current ones. Focus on doing your current job well. Cultivate mentors and professional relationships with people who are knowledgeable and supportive. Be proactive about steering your career forward by getting regular performance feedback and asking for promotions and raises when warranted.

Know how to continue to do well on the job, even in difficult economic times and through challenging work situations. Lean on your professional relationships, but also do your own research on company policy and talk with human resources (HR). Doing well in the work environment depends heavily on your ability to manage relationships, so focus on your communication skills and ability to set boundaries.

Remember to have a life outside your professional work. Do not neglect personal relationships. Take care of your health and personal finances. Pursue hobbies and interests that don’t have to benefit your career.

Finally, building a career isn’t just about getting a job, but you also must know when to leave your job. Be clear about your objectives for your next position. Don’t forget to explore opportunities within your current organization, but don’t be afraid to revisit the six steps of the job search and find another position. Remember to maintain your obligations in your current job while you are looking and to exit gracefully. Then start identifying your target, create a compelling marketing campaign, conduct in-depth research.…

Chapter Takeaways

  • Start strong by taking advantage of onboarding support new employees typically get, such as time with HR on new hire training programs.
  • Take care of practical logistics, such as paper work and learning your physical environment.
  • Get confirmation about exactly what you need to get done day one, week one, month one, and the first quarter.
  • Develop a good relationship with your boss by being available for updates and asking for feedback.
  • Mentors are an important part of your professional network to provide advice and a sounding board for ideas and concerns.
  • Do not use your boss or your boss’s boss as your mentor, so you can candidly speak about your issues and get an objective, outside perspective.
  • You can choose from several types of mentors: guardian angel, shepherd, and board of directors. Ideally, you will have several mentors.
  • You develop strong mentorships naturally by meeting with people and letting relationships grow. Be a good mentee by being proactive and flexible about scheduling, and by being responsive to your mentor’s needs.
  • In addition to mentors, you develop relationships with people at all levels, in different departments, and both inside and outside your company.
  • Build relationships proactively by setting aside time to meet people and practicing how you will introduce yourself.
  • Doing well on your job is but one part of overall career management. You also want to look at your future goals and make sure you develop the training, experience, and relationships necessary to reach these goals.
  • Some organizations have formal processes for giving performance reviews, assigning promotions, and granting raises. You want to know what is customary for your organization.
  • If your organization does not have official processes for performance reviews, promotions, or raises, you will want to schedule time to discuss these with your boss.
  • Regular performance feedback is critical to ensure you are doing a good job and are on track for your career goals. Promotions and raises are not a regular occurrence, but are for extraordinary contributions, such as if your responsibilities increase or you have exceptional results in your work.
  • Changes in the broad economy, your industry, your organization’s financials or management, or the feedback you are getting may signal a potential layoff.
  • If you are laid off, manage your termination process to get the maximum support to which you are entitled.
  • Before you leave an organization, collect contact information and say thank you. Relationships with your former employer are still important.
  • After you leave, don’t wait too long before starting your job search, so you do not feel rushed or pressured to land a job right away.
  • Many workplace conflicts can be minimized with good relationship management, open communication, and clear boundaries.
  • Do not assume that you can do personal work on office equipment or take work home on your personal equipment. Check company policy on personal e-mail and social media policy, confidentiality, and any other issues about which you may have any questions.
  • Use your mentors for advice and information.
  • Use HR as a resource if a serious office situation arises, such as harassment or discrimination.
  • Life success contributes to career success, such as the areas of personal finance, health and well-being, and relationships.
  • Schedule time and specific activities for each of your nonwork areas so that they are not forgotten in the immediate pressures of work.
  • A career requires a succession of jobs, which can be within the same organization.
  • You may want to leave your organization if you are no longer challenged, need to change your industry, function, or geography to something your current employer cannot accommodate, or to start your own business.
  • Use the same six-step job search process you used to get your current job, but update your marketing materials, network, and references to reflect your new experience.
  • Make sure that you can meet your obligations in your current job while making time for your job search.
  • Make sure that you leave your current job in good standing with your organization and colleagues by giving enough notice and helping with the transition, if needed.

Chapter Review

  1. How is career success different from job search success?
  2. What is the significance of the first ninety days on the job?
  3. What different types of mentors and relationships do you want to cultivate?
  4. What ways can you proactively focus on career advancement?
  5. What key things should you do before, during, and after a layoff?
  6. What are some work conflicts and possible solutions?
  7. Why is your personal life important to career success?
  8. What are some reasons you may want to look for another job?