Intentional Career Design and Why YOU Need It

Career Design

By now, if you’ve read anything I’ve written, seen anything I’ve posted, talked to me for more than 2 minutes or even glanced at my site out of the side of your eyeball you know I’m all about Intentional Career Design. Cool. Ok. So what the hell is that?

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Talking to as many people as I do about their career aspirations (cuz yes, dork) a pattern showed up. A fairly un-pretty, not at all decorative pattern. Turns out most people sort of “fell into” their careers. It doesn’t mean they don’t like their careers or that that they wish they were doing something else but for many it does mean that once they fell into it they sort of “set it and forget it” and now they find themselves sort of just “in” it. They have no real goals set, no idea how to grow, they’re unclear on what next steps might even be available to them.

Is this a tragic, earth-shattering, life wrecking situation? Most likely not, but it can be a slowly soul draining one. One where a person turns around five years from now, looks at their career and simply asks “what the hell?”

This is where Intentional Career Design comes in. It’s a map! Huh? Hang on, I’ll get there. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Research what you REALLY want to do (in your heart of hearts)

  2. Make the decision of THIS IS THE THING

  3. Work somewhere you enjoy, can learn from and have clear growth opportunities.

  4. Outline what growth you want and BY WHEN.

  5. Work WITH your management team to make those milestones.

  6. If your current workplace cannot (or will not) offer you growth - move to a new company.

  7. Repeat steps 3-6 as many times as you feel necessary.

Now, there’s a lot behind each of these seemingly simple steps. For instance, number 1 hinges on your “why” - like your big life WHYS. And number 4 can be anything from ‘Get a Promotion to Jr. from intern' to 'retire your husband because you’re ballin’ as a partner in your own agency'. You just gotta decide what your thing is. 

I’m not going to lie and say it’s an easy process (I’m not that big of a liar), but it’s an incredibly important process. Look. If you’re a free wheelin’ hippie spirit who just wants to float on the sands of the wind and has no need for goals or job growth - more power to ya sister! - this just ain’t for you. But if you’re most of us, you need direction. A place to get to and a map of how to get there. Intentional Career Design is your map. Get it?

Now… where’s west?