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For many employees, it can be tempting to remain where one is—you already know the lay of the land and the expectations placed on you. Plus, with such stiff competition for higher ranks, it often seems like employees have nowhere to go.
But the changing landscape of employment has led to employees looking for new opportunities within and without their current professional sphere.
It may seem a daunting task, but you can change the direction of your career. The important thing to remember is that it isn’t something that can be done in the spur of the moment. With enough planning and insight, you can develop your career in a new direction.
You need to put a great deal of thought into where you want your career to go and what value any changes will bring you. Create a mind map for your career development and take the following actions.
Mentorship programmes are a key part of startup culture and are often seen in small businesses, as well. These programmes encourage employees to help each other out by teaching new skills.
Mentorship programmes improve your understanding of workplace culture, how your department functions, and your management skills.
But beyond learning new abilities, joining a mentorship programme helps you connect with your coworkers, especially those in departments you don’t get to engage with often.
And, in turn, you can become a mentor to newcomers to the office. New recruits usually have fresh ideas and current knowledge of technology, trends, and practices that can benefit your growing expertise.
By joining your company’s mentorship programme, you can improve your skills and develop your career further.
However, not all companies have such programmes in place. If that is the case in your office, you should try and shadow fellow employees.
Find out what work they do and how. Spend time with them after hours for tutoring and put what you have learned into practice. Ask for feedback on your completed tasks and ways to improve.
Treat the process of shadowing a co-worker the way you would a course—set parameters and goals for yourself and try to achieve them.
However, avoid putting unreasonable expectations on yourself—you won’t be able to master the art of digital branding in a week, but you could learn enough within three months to help out the marketing and branding team.
By shadowing fellow employees, you can learn enough on the job to develop your career in new directions.
There aren’t many hours in the day to fit in everything you want to do. However, concentrating solely on your work isn’t enough to improve your career prospects. You need to keep learning new skills.
While mentorship programmes and shadowing co-workers will help you gain some additional knowledge in your field, you should also try and take courses outside of work.
If you are a social media writer, you may also want to learn about social reporting and hashtag analytics as those skills will help you get into a management position.
Designers should look at taking a new graphic design course to learn the latest trends and technological advancements in their field.
Learning new things is a great way to stay up-to-date with your profession and improve your abilities to move on to the next level of your career.
The majority of your time is spent with co-workers. But if you are all in the same environment, rehashing the same tasks and office culture, you aren’t giving yourself room to improve.
Instead, step out of your comfort zone and meet people outside your workplace. Attend networking events for professionals adjacent to your current sphere of work—such as meeting with people who work at video companies if you’re in marketing.
Meeting people outside work will give you perspective on the current professional environment. It’s easy to get jaded or cynical when you’ve been in one place too long, so it helps to get an outside view of what you do.
A new perspective will let you see your career in a new light so you can make changes accordingly.
Doing things outside of your working life will expand your horizons. You don’t need to do something overly challenging—failure in your hobbies will only demotivate you.
Instead, take on simple hobbies like using a new software or creating a YouTube Channel. A hobby is a good way to keep you mentally focused on a task, while also giving you a break from your everyday work.
Additionally, hobbies will introduce you to current trends and technologies, many of which you can implement at work. You will find yourself brimming with new ideas because of a hobby you do on the side.
And because of your new-found creativity, your managers and employers will be more interested in hearing your ideas on projects. This will likely lead to a promotion or some kind of positive development in your career.
The previous generation of employees lived by the philosophy that once you get a job, you stay there until retirement. But that no longer holds true for the current generation of professionals.
Employees are no longer beholden to their organisations—many leave after two or three years, or after completing a project. Employment has become akin to adding notches to your belt—once you have accomplished what you wanted in one organisation, it is time to move on.
When changing jobs, it is best not to change too frequently—moving from job to job every year makes you look like a flake, not someone who is trying to improve their career prospects.
You should strive to move into higher positions in the new companies where you seek employment. Not only will this demonstrate your career growth, but it will also challenge you to work harder and strive for better results.
Developing your career path in a new direction can feel like a daunting task. But a lot of it comes down to improving your own skills and stepping out of your comfort zone.
Don’t be afraid to join mentorship programmes, or learn new skills from fellow employees and from courses. Move out of your workplace to network with new people, and take up hobbies that are unrelated to work.
Finally, don’t force yourself to stay in one place for too long. Push yourself to move on from your job every two or three years so your understanding of the professional environment and your own level of proficiency continues to improve.
Article by Ronita Mohan
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic and design platform. Ronita is interested in a variety of topics related to digital marketing, visual content, and online engagement, which she enjoys researching and writing about.