Crafting your Career Blueprint: Strategy vs. Planning
- What good does it do to climb a ladder that’s leaning on the Wrong Wall?
As I expressed in Part I:
Energies exerted pursuing a misguided career objective (or stuck in the wrong job) is like climbing a ladder on the wrong wall . . .
When you have a sound career strategy, you ‘think before you climb’.
Scripture tells us that ‘the fervent, effectual prayers of a righteous man availeth much’. The fervent, effectual actions of a Christian worker, one with a strategically-sound Career Blueprint, availeth much too!
The Four Career Ladder Scenarios I described in that post (link):
1. At times, after crafting a well-strategized Career Blueprint, you’ll need to Move the Ladder to a different spot on the same wall (Right Wall, Wrong Spot).
2. At times, however, you’ll need to find a different wall to lean the ladder before climbing (Wrong Wall).
3. At times, ironically, what you are seeking is reachable without any ladder climbing (No Ladder Needed).
4. At times, your career ladder is exactly where it needs to be! (Ideal Career situation)
In this post I offer potential career solutions to each of these Scenarios.
Being Keenly Self Aware
To understand which career ladder scenarios you’re in, you need to be keenly self aware. The following two books will help you develop the career self awareness to properly know ‘where your career ladder’ is.
- What Color is Your Parachute? (Richard Bolles, Ten Speed Press). If your current job isn’t using most of your ‘motivated skills’ often, you likely aren’t in an ideal situation. You may just lack the will, not ability, to use those skills (i.e. be in a No Ladder situation). If this isn’t the case, the first scenario (Right wall/Wrong spot) may be where you find yourself today.
- StrengthFinders 2.0 (Tom Rath, Gallup Press). If you’re not regularly using many of your top five strengths, it’s likely you’re not now in an Ideal career situation – where your ladder is just where it needs to be for you to be successful.
As I stated in a prior post (link):
The [Tom Rath] book will tell you, based on [your top 5] strengths, which career and personal situations you’ll likely excel in. The simple, one-hour [online] test is, I’ve found, quite accurate . . . The 1 hour to take the test may be the smartest career development hour you invest this year.
The ‘Flower exercise’ in the [Parachute] book is a great way to reveal your key transferable skills. These ‘motivated skills’ would be a part of the ideal job for you. While more time-consuming than the Strengths Finder test, the results will be very revealing. When I did it in 2010, I saw some patterns that I wasn’t aware of – and which really shocked me.
Your Career: Climb Up, Reach Within, and Celebrate!
For each of the Career Ladder Scenarios you might be in, there are a number of ways you can decide to effectively deal with them. I’ve suggested below a few that might give you a head start in Stepping into your Next Career Triumph – or, if you’re in an Ideal situation now, be ready to achieve your next Triumph.
Right Wall, Wrong Spot (Scenario #1)
- Employer Change (Similar job)
- Target and get a Job Promotion (Same company)
- Job at a different employer, in a Different Sector or Industry
- Prime job in a city that requires a Longer Commute
Wrong Wall (Scenario #2)
- Career Change
- Relocation (out-of-state)
- Go back to school or get a certificate (To qualify yourself for an ideal, or close-to-ideal job down the road)
- Self employment
No Ladder Needed (Scenario #3)
- Just ‘reach within’ (Mental climbing) – A situation where a lack of confidence or a lack of Focus causes a person to underachieve. The following posts from this blog address issues relevant to this scenario.
Ideal Career Situation (Scenario #4)
- Your current job and career situation is very good or great; your ‘career ladder’ is exactly where it needs to be!
- Thank God!
- Celebrate, but be alert to things about you, your occupation, your current employer, and the economy which might motivate you to ‘move your ladder’ later. Don’t let a lack of vigilance on your part cause you to rest on the laurels (of your Current work situation). If you do you may miss your Next Career Blessing. A wise Christian worker wears ‘a belt and suspenders’ – to be prepared for whatever they face on their career journey. To put it plainly, it’s hard to step towards your next Victory, or run from an observed Career Threat, if your pants fall down!
- Again, celebrate your situation, but be vigilant too. A Christian’s ‘strategy and suspenders’ can separate them from others. Where are your suspenders?
So, where’s your career ladder leaning today? Do you think ‘before you climb’? If you’re not currently in an Ideal scenario, you may want to start crafting a Career Blueprint which allows you to be in one in the near future.
- If you feel you’re in a Wrong Wall situation currently, please do the due diligence, soul searching, and strategic planning needed. I’ve offered four things in this Part II post to spur your Blueprint Brainstorming; I’m sure you can identify others that might best fit your particular situation. While moving your ladder to a new wall is a big move, it may be the best possible move to make! Lastly, be prayerful as you meditate and plan.
- A Right Wall/Wrong Spot situation is, as compared to a Wrong Wall one, somewhat easier to map out and act upon. You aren’t moving your ladder to a new wall; you’re just finding a better spot on the wall it’s already leaning on.
- The ease (or lack thereof) of No Ladder situations varies from person to person, and from situation to situation.
Too many Christian career professionals have a Career Blueprint which reflects that they don’t know the subtle, but important difference between Strategy and Planning. I hope this 2-post look at mapping out your career helped you see why each is important. Savvy workers have strategic skills which others lack – or choose not to use. They work smart; they know that working fervently alone isn’t enough! Moreover, as a Christian you know you’re not walking alone. At times you just need ‘a little more Jesus’.
- While this post concludes the Your Next Triumph worklife series, I will continue to blog on Christian career issues – at least twice a month typically. I’ve received a good response to many of the series posts; frankly, I feel that I’ve just scratched the surface of what I feel all Christian workers need to know . . . to step victoriously in their careers. Grace, mercy, and peace to you.
Photo credit (Ladder on red wall) : TheCoolQuest/flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit (Leaning ladder, black & white): Hope Abrams/flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)