Who Owns Your Career?

I work with many companies to support them in creating career development programs for their employees. A big part of implementing these programs is ensuring that employees understand that they own their careers — not the company but the employee.

I am always a bit surprised when I hear that many employees feel that the company should take responsibility for their career development.  Yes, there is certainly a responsibility on the part of the company because they have to partner with the employee to provide the growth opportunities.  However, the initiation always starts with the employee.  Why? Because, it’s YOUR career.  Why would you want anyone else to have control of something that is yours?  And, especially something as critical as your career, your livelihood. I hear that this often stems from employees feeling as if the company “should” develop them and grow their career; that it is something the organization owes the employee.  But it’s not the company’s career; it’s the employee’s career.  The company benefits by supporting the employee’s growth but the employee needs to take the initiative and decide what they want to do and how they want to grow and develop themselves.

Each person’s career growth is unique based on their own desires so each person needs to define what that career growth and development means and then create a plan for it to happen. Then you can share it with your manager and your company  leaders but remember, it’s your career and that means it’s yours to own and create in a way that best suits you.

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