Are you Career or Job Focused?

Almost everyone we speak with identifies themselves as “career focused”, but many people don’t really know what the ideal next step is in their career or what skills they need to acquire to get there.  I would argue that these people are more “job focused”.

Career Focused

  • Clear on long Term vision of where they want to go
  • Has an outline of what it takes to get there
  • Understands skillsets needed to accomplish goals and how to attain those skills
  • Willingness to move when and where is most beneficial to attaining goals

Job Focused

  • Comfortable where they are as long as bills are paid
  • Needs big change in order to consider making a job move, such as new leadership or compensation change
  • Generally satisfied in their role
  • May have a fear that a new role won’t live up to their expectation

I recently spoke with a Regional Sales person for a leading solar manufacturer that I have known for several years.  He is one of the best sales people in the industry (based on the revenues he has produced and the customers he has worked with) and I have been working, unsuccessfully, to recruit him for some time, but he has tremendous loyalty to his direct boss and enjoys working for his company.

His long term goal is to lead a sales organization.  Over the last few years he has been so focused on selling that he hasn’t had the opportunity to take on leadership responsibilities in his current organization.  The boss that he has enjoyed working for (and is one of the main reasons he has stayed) recently left and now this individual has decided it is time to move on as well.  He has a great track record of successful selling that he will be able to leverage as he looks for another role, but since he doesn’t have any real leadership experience he will likely be making a lateral move into a similar role in another company.

This is a perfect example of the dangers of being too comfortable in a job and losing focus on your career.  Had he spent more time taking on additional responsibilities internally (training/mentoring newer sales people, leading special project teams, etc) he would have been in a better position to land the leadership role he would prefer to be in.

Where do you fall in your current role?

Everyone shifts between being career focused and job focused at some point in their career.  We all have some obligations outside of our professional lives (new baby, aging parents, kids finishing high school) that keep us from being able to invest the time or making the commitments needed to grow our careers temporarily. Just be careful not to lose sight of your real goals and understand the steps needed to get there.

If you are in a job and interested in moving yourself into a fulfilling career check out our whitepaper “Don’t Blow it” to get started.