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4. Career Planning

Career Planning Questions to Ask Yourself:

    Are your career options greater today than they were one year ago?  

    Are you adding real value or just passing things along?

    Are you plugged-in to what is happening around you?

    What would happen if your job disappeared tomorrow?

    Are you increasingly able to be your own person and to do the things you want?

    Do you know what you contribute?

    How old are your current skills and how is your work changing?

    Are you learning?

    If tomorrow your job were open would you get it?

The L. F. McManus Company, Inc. assists individuals in developing an objective inventory of their skills, abilities, talents, and interests.  This inventory can be used by both the person and his/her organization for career guidance, management development, training and job placement.  

In the age of information technology, individuals must: (1) understand that their education efforts must now be a lifelong process; (2) look at themselves in terms of being a "business of one"; (3) market themselves in terms of what they can contribute by way of value to an organization; and (4) realize that the most critical kind of knowledge they need for career planning is self-knowledge and understanding of others.

There are three major factors that people must understand if they expect to do any kind of serious career planning.  These are:

1. Individuals must take a very careful inventory of their skills, talents, strengths and abilities, as well as their weak points and limitations.  The downsizing of organizations and the increasing competition for fewer senior level professional and managerial jobs means that young people today are likely to be plateauing out earlier in their careers than any generation who preceded them.  There will be more "horizontal" than "vertical" promotional opportunities in the near future, and the old "career ladder" kind of thinking will need to give way to a "career lattice" kind of  thinking.

2. Individuals will need to recognize that there are times when it will be necessary to change jobs and/or organizations in order to be able to advance their knowledge and career options.  People need to guard against becoming too comfortable with their existing situation and to be more aware of how the average "life cycle" of many existing jobs is continuing to become shorter as technology changes their relevance.  

For example, in high technology companies today, the average "life cycle" of many existing jobs is estimated to be in the range of 3 to 5 years.  In the 1950s and 1960s one could often expect to stay for a working lifetime with one organization, but that is much less likely to be true today.  As conditions and technology change, people will need to develop new skills to enhance their "value-adding" potential to their organizations and to enhance their own competitive position should they need to change jobs or organizations.  A good question to ask oneself from time to time is, "If my job were open today, would I be able to qualify for it?"

3. Individuals should also consider preparing for a "second career."  It is likely that, as organizations reduce their size and as technology significantly impacts individual position responsibilities, people may need to look at other career options in their working lives. Few people who are working today, can expect that their present job skills are going to remain constant and unchanged over the next decade.  As technology expands in the work place a number of jobs will become obsolete.

For example, there is little demand, today for people with electric-typewriter skills, or for positions such as draftsmen, flight engineers or meter-readers.  It will become increasingly rare, in the new world of work, to see people retire from the same kind of work they entered at the start of their careers.  It has been said that a good quarterback always has a second play ready in case the first play isn't going to work.  It is a good idea to always have a second career plan ready, in case something happens that makes the original plan no longer relevant.

                                                      The Realities of the Changing World of Work

Whether we like it or not the work environment has changed and many people either haven't recognized this fact or don't want to recognize it.

Long term security, annual increases, and years of being able to stay in the same job are concepts out of the 1950's. They are products of an Industrial Age that the Age of Information Technology has made obsolete.

There is a global market that is developing more rapidly each day.  With a computer and a phone-line, many "white-collar" jobs can be performed from anywhere in the world.

In a recent study reported in FORTUNE magazine, it was pointed out that 50% of all banking transactions are now electronic.  They are by phone, computer, ATM, and the Internet -- and the "Nintendo Generation" will soon be customers.

People who think they have a secure job today, have either been caught in a time-warp of the 1950s or they are Supreme Court justices.

Career planning involves taking a careful inventory of one's skills, abilities, interests and talents in 8 key career related areas. The first four of these areas relate to individual competency and the second four areas relate to factors that influence individual career growth and potential.  

  8 Critical Factors

In all there are 8 Critical Factors that individuals must take an inventory and assessment of, if they expect to do any kind of serious career planning.  These are:

Four Key "Competency" Influencing Factors:

1. Knowledge
2. Experience
3. Skills
4. Record of Achievements  

In addition to reviewing the Four Key "Competency" Influencing Factors listed above, The  L. F. McManus Company, Inc. recommends that individuals interested in career planning complete a battery of career oriented psychological tests to aid in a more objective assessment of four additional career related factors which we describe as Four Key "Growth" Influencing Factors.  These four factors have a very strong influence upon the individual's ability to move ahead, to take on higher level tasks, and to be effective in working with and through people. These Four "Growth" Influencing Factors also provide helpful insights into the kinds of assignments and tasks the individual is likely to find most compatible with his/her capabilities and potential for career success.

 These Four Key "Growth" Influencing Factors are:

5. Personality Characteristics   (Style and Approach)
6. Values   (Wants and Desires)
7. Problem-Solving Ability   (Intellectual Ability)
8. Life Style   (Preferred Way of Living and Working)        

For more information on the Career Planning with the L. F. McManus Company, Inc., please use our e-mail address to contact us.