Career Stages in Career Planning

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If you’re looking at your career and wondering what are your career stages in career planning, you might view it as “start”, “middle”, and “end”. When in reality, your career progression comes in cycles—Invest, Grow, and Accelerate. 

To gain control of your career, you can use these three phases as a cycle that you can revisit over and over again. 

The key here what we’re really trying to do is not create a career by default we want to be intentional about where we go. We want to be intentional about the decisions that we’re making, and we really want to find a career that’s exciting and fulfilling.

Phase One: Invest

This career stage is about self-awareness, knowing your skillsets, and exploring your passions. 

The most obvious investment you can make is in your technical and soft skills… things that you will immediately need for your role. But, in this phase, you should also explore your interests and purpose. 

A lot of people think about purpose they think it’s one final destination you achieve. Instead, your purpose is more of a feeling that you get—happiness, satisfaction, excitement. Explore what makes you excited or what peaks your interest. 

As you explore your interests and you have something that grabs you, you can move into phase two. 

Phase Two: Grow

The second career stage is Growth. You naturally gravitate toward your strengths and the things you’re good at. Now once you’ve articulated your interest, you can begin growing it strategically and with intention. 

When you know what you want to grow, you can find specific methods of doing that. For example, you may be interested in new technological innovation. If you’re interested in playing with this technology, you would research the methods that allow for more practical usages. 

The same principle applies to your career. You may want more leadership experience in your role, so you might research leadership vs management. Then, as you start to practice leadership skills, you can grow your expertise… until you master it. 

Phase Three: Accelerate

This last career stage in career planning is mastering your craft and creating more impact. 

Once you’ve grown a skillset or ability, you can target it toward a specific impact. Let’s say you’ve spent time learning about agile project management… you’ve invested in uncovering it, and you’ve grown that muscle. Your last step may be to overhaul your company’s project management systems. 

That’s an extreme example, but you can see how the practice works. 

Once you reach this career stage, you can begin again with something new. You may have 5 or 10 skills or interests going on at once. Then once you master it, you start to lose the excitement. It tastes like old gum you’ve chewed the flavor out of… 

So, to get more excitement, you start again at the investment stage—find what gets you excited and grow it from there. 


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  1. Pingback: "I Don't Know What Career I Want" (Steps to Finding Your Career) » Benjamin Preston

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