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Career Management - The Basic Problem:

“So, what do you do?” (i.e. “What’s your job?”) A common question, but rarely, if ever, will anyone ask you about your ‘career’, and far less how you’re actually managing it. In fact the majority of people rarely think in terms of career; they tend to think instead about their ‘job’. So why, when our career is probably one of the most important aspects of our lives, do we spend so little time attending to it?

If you ask people if they are happy with their job, very few would actually say yes. Some might say ‘content’, but most would say, ‘no, not really’. And just like blinkered ploughing horses, they seem oblivious to the life-changing opportunities within their reach on either side and just, well, plough on.

Almost everything throughout life will require regular maintenance if it’s going to continue to keep its looks, structure, or perform and function well: our health; our house; our garden; our car; our general appearance; our children’s education; our family; our personal relationships…

But whereas we might all agree with these basic life requirements, the vast majority of people will carry on, blissfully unaware that continual ‘maintenance’ is needed to keep their career heading in the right direction and achieving what it should: our feeling of wellbeing. In fact, if you were to ask most people to describe (a) what would be their ideal career, and (b) what they are actually doing right now, the difference in their answers would be So, again - why?

Well the thing is, very few people realise that it’s within their grasp to do something about it. A professional career coach can help people to identify - and then act upon - opportunities. This could be through improving their current situation, re-positioning themselves within their organisation, or even undertaking a complete career change. Significant and life-changing results can often be achieved.

So - What is Career Management?

You’ll find a number of definitions on the internet but perhaps it’s best summed up by: “A lifelong process of career planning, choosing personal goals and creating strategies to achieve them.”

Any career path should have a purpose, a structure or strategy that will include rewarding but achievable goals. Once these building blocks are in place, the rest should follow. And with help, guidance and continuing support, it’s certainly achievable.

The Outcome:

Career success can often be linked to financial success, although that’s a rather simple interpretation. People can enjoy career success in almost anything they choose to do and it will have absolutely nothing to do with money. A midwife who can look back on years of bringing countless babies into the world can claim to have had a hugely successful (and satisfying) career, and possibly even more so than an extremely well- off hedge fund manager. In fact there are many who work in finance, earning sizeable amounts, but who feel neither happy nor fulfilled within their job.

So we need to consider the various aspects of a full career that will bring the most satisfaction and enjoyment. They could be: autonomy, status, the ability to be creative, management prospects, geographical location, global travel, or simply being able to see the tangible results of your efforts every day.

People have totally different aspirations: what they think is important which, in turn, becomes ‘regular maintenance’. Successful career coaching will always be non sector-specific – from engineers to bankers - and apply equally to those on the shop floor as to those who might seek executive career advice.

However, the outcome of a focused career management programme will be that the individual – whoever they are – will have had the blinkers removed, seen how they can exploit their full potential and, consequently, achieve that rarest of goals: a satisfying and rewarding career for life. 

And no more ploughing.

If you think it might benefit you, I would be happy to arrange an exploratory meeting (Edinburgh or Glasgow) either to assess your options or to offer immediate advice. Call me on 07711-948273 or email

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