Your career needs to be managed strategically and proactively - it does not just happen. Even though good luck, the right network and wicked smarts help, YOU are the only one who can set the direction. WEST’s programming theme this year has been specifically designed to help women in science and technology think about your career advancement strategically and develop your own plan for execution.
Career isn’t something that just shows up. It isn’t something that starts when we pick our major and ends with our first job. We wish our career would magically manifest or that our employer would take care of it for us but if we don’t think strategically about our career, it can quickly get stuck.
For women, it can get even trickier. In our research on women and leadership, we found that often women feel uncomfortable talking about their career. Women are often socialized to talk about their family plans but careers are supposed to be secondary.
In this age of regular layoffs, disruption, and competition, managing career means taking responsibility for what we want and seeking it out. In our study, we asked women the question: do you have to work or do you want to work. 75% of the women said something like: I have to work because it’s part of my identity, part of who I am, and how I give back.
So, as a result, we need to be more planful with our career. This might mean that we decide out immediate next step. It might mean we envision who we want to be 20 years hence. There are a variety of ways to design a career – my colleague Michael Arthur thinks about careers intelligently “knowing” three questions: Why, How, and Whom. It also means thinking planfully about how we integrate career and life.
When we consider all aspects of ourselves - including ourselves - we can figure out how to leverage aspects of these aspects to the benefit of all. We can learn to say yes and no, learn to ask for what we need and want, and consider asking others to help. Career, Life and You means you are in charge. You are the one who gets to decide.
This fall, join us as we explore this topic in full. See what questions you can answer. Who knows where you may end up and what doors might open as a result. When we take responsibility for our careers, and stay open to possibilities, we get to live a full, rich life.
Jodi Detjen, Managing Partner
Orange Grove Consulting | Retain and Develop Women Leaders
Clinical Professor of Management, Suffolk University