The advice I always give clients is that you must take ownership of your career. If you were to come and see me as a client, my aim would be to provide you with a range of tools and perspectives so that you can firstly learn more about yourself. You have to understand who you are and what you have to offer. Once you are confident about this, you need to learn what to do with this information i.e. how to use it so that you can find the best career opportunities for you.

It can take several sessions for this to all come together. But making a commitment to get to that place where you are ready to go and grab the opportunities that are out there is a real investment in your future.

Which is why I was thrilled to read an article by Michael B. Arthur titled “What’s Your Next Career Move? You Must Own Your Career!”* Michael gets it. As a careers scholar, he understands that the workplace is dynamic and there is a lot of change and churn happening. He advises that taking ownership of your career is essential. He explains what owning your career involves:

“It means persistently monitoring your career situation, asking good questions, and looking out for your next opportunity. It means never, under any circumstances, ceding control over your career to your employer.”

~ Michael B. Arthur

And that’s your challenge. To be actively engaged with monitoring where you are now in your career and thinking about where you are going next. And not giving this responsibility to others. So, what does monitoring look like? According to Arthur it means:

“You need to continually monitor your experiences. What is their potential value for future innovation assignments? What about relationships with others in your field of expertise, both within and beyond your current employer? Are you “wired” to hear about future opportunities in that field?”

That can apply to any occupation. Thinking about where your industry is going, what will the changes be, and what are the future opportunities going to look like for you.

Arthur does highlight some issues that you should be aware of:

Your employer might be encouraging your ongoing development, but an employer is primarily concerned about the success of their organisation, not necessarily you.
Don’t be tempted to “delegate ownership of your career to your employer, rather than keeping it to yourself”.
Get concerned about your reputation and your network. These are the things that will open doors to your next job and help develop your career.
If you put off taking ownership of your career, you could get caught out and be made redundant when you don’t expect it.

It was Tom Peters way back in 1997 who first talked about the need for personal career branding with his now famous quote:

“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

~ Tom Peters


So what does all this mean for you now?

  • You cannot afford to sit back and let others or the market determine the course of your career.
  • You are the one who should be working out where you want to go and setting the course to get there.
  • You are the only one who can truly understand who you are and what you want to do.
  • Taking ownership of your career means actively thinking about yourself and the job market and taking action that will give you a greater chance of being successful in a way that matters to you.

I want my clients to take ownership of their careers. Which is why I say to them that I am not going to tell them what they should do next. But I also tell them that I am going to:

  • Help them understand themselves better.
  • Open doors of possibility.
  • Give them a range of practical tools and coaching in how to use them effectively.
  • Encourage greater levels of confidence to get out there and get what they want.

Ref: What’s Your Next Move? You Must Own Your Career! by Michael B. Arthur Jun 9, 2018

Janet Tuck

Janet Tuck

Career Management Specialist

M: +64 21 526 387

Ready to take ownership of your career?


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Janet – 021 526 387

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