12 Tips to Take Charge and Build Success

    Today you must manage your own career -“ it is no one else’s responsibility.

    It used to be that if you did a good job and people liked you, your company would take care of you by giving you more responsibility and money and promotions. But that does not happen anymore. Today as often as not, you can count on someone above you, or overseas, issuing a proclamation that “every department must cut staff by X percent.” They don’t care who you are or what you are doing, just cut staff.

    And so much is happening in our world with mergers, acquisitions, technological advancements leading to entire industries becoming obsolete, that those same companies can’t even plan for their own survival let alone yours.

    So as I say in my book, “The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business,” you “own yourself” and build your capabilities that will allow you to survive no matter what happens to the economy or your employer. How do you do this? There are several things you can do to be your own provider of future opportunities.

    1. Have a plan for your career. Certainly you should consider options, such as changing careers or becoming self-employed. Factor in when you’d like to retire and what you’d like to do when you do retire. (Note: As you get closer to retirement, you might change your mind but still, it is good to have the plan.)

    2. Continue to learn your profession. Stay ahead of the others and always challenge yourself to learn and grow. Read books, go to seminars, give seminars, write books, and learn a language or two. (How would you like to compete with someone with similar experience to yourself that knows two languages in addition to English?)

    3. Network well and keep your network alive. Meet new people regularly in person and on social media. And keep in touch with them in a real way. Take an interest in them and their careers almost as if you are screening or interviewing them as a future employee or partner. (Because you are.)

    4. Look for opportunities within your existing company for advancement. Learn what it would take to get that next job -“ or your boss’s job – and do more than that. (If a job doesn’t open at your company, you will be ready to move on.)

    5. Always consider that you might be self-employed someday. Follow your industry trends to see what you think might be its future. If it doesn’t look good, plan to change careers and even jobs or learn the new technology that has changed your industry.

    6. Keep yourself physically fit. You will need energy to compete and continue to grow. And, people are enjoying working longer into their 70s.

    7. Be honest and do what is right. If you do this, you will make mistakes but they will be honest and this will become your reputation.

    8. Respect everyone. If you treat people poorly, or are dishonest, those traits will precede you in life. So have a positive reputation always.

    9. Never burn a bridge. It is amazing how small the world is. I guarantee that if you tell someone off today -“ even if they deserve it at the time – that at some time in your future, that person will be in line to be an employee, employer or customer and you will regret you actions.

    10. Word hard and be focused. There is no substitute for hard work. You might not be smarter than someone else, but you can outwork them.

    11. Never say, “I can’t” or “it can’t be done.” Most things can be done. Find a way.

    12. Never assume. If you assume your boss remembers that you told he/she that you were interested in a promotion or that people remember you started your own business, you are too often wrong. If you assume anything, assume they did NOT remember your wishes.

    To be successful does take hard work and a good plan. But, it can be done. And, you can be honest and treat people fairly and with respect. To follow this plan is not difficult. You will likely have to give up something during your life but that something will not be as important as this plan (like reality TV or fantasy sports). If you don’t have such a plan, you will survive but you will most likely fail to maximize your potential and will be cheating yourself and those around you.

    John J. Bailey talks about owning yourself throughout his recently released book, “The Power of Ownership: How to Build a Career and a Business,” now available on Amazon.com. Bailey is 40-year-plus public relations counselor serving business at the highest levels in strategic planning, crisis planning, media relations and media coaching. Often called “Mr. Ethics,” he writes and speaks on ethics in business and public relations. He can be reached at thepowerofownership.com.