Most career plans don’t include the most important element in job advancement. Let me show it to you.
An usher at the movie theater I worked at wanted to become the lead usher. After the movie started he would always be the first to grab a broom and start sweeping the lobby. Once he even told me I was sweeping too early so that 30 seconds later he could grab a broom and be seen by our boss as the boy with the most initiative. He got the job. I got laid off. He had a career plan at the tender age of 14. (He was also a little deceitful, which he didn’t need to be.)
A useful career plan needs to have long term goals, as well as much shorter term tactical objectives. If your 1 year goal is to get promoted to team leader, you have to work every day at short term plans to get there. If you want to become a partner in your firm, you have to do something different from the crowd every day.
The biggest secret to daily, weekly and monthly career plans is to set yourself up to act like you already have the job you want. Start acting like a senior technician by getting certifications and asking your boss to allow you into design meetings. Pretty soon you’ll get the promotion. A partner in most firms is required to be either a leader/manager or a rainmaker/salesman. If you want to be a partner, act like one.
To start taking over the job you want, you have to have a clear idea of what the job entails. Your first career plan should be, “I will find out what the job I want entails.” Make sure you find out what the most successful inhabitants of your target job do. What makes the most successful people different? You should generate a weekly and monthly written plan of how you will find out more about the job you want. Put it in your job journal.
Now write a weekly and monthly plan of how to educate yourself for the job. List the courses you can take, certifications you can get and books you can read. Ask the people you admire for advice. The list should go in your job journal where you can add to it later.
Finally, write that weekly and monthly plan on how you will take over the job. 90% of authority is seized, 10% is granted. Go out and take over some responsibilities. Even if you are reprimanded for over reaching, your initiative will be noticed. A plan written in your job journal will focus your efforts.
Remember that boy who wanted to be lead usher. He was always the first person out in the lobby cleaning up. He wanted to show initiative. To advance in a technical, managerial or sales position you need to show the same initiative. You need to be the first person seen doing important jobs. Make a plan and do it.
Something To Do Today
Just today, seize authority. Find some important job and make yourself the custodian of that job. Be the first to start doing it, direct how it is to be done, or ask one of your subordinates to do it.