Career Development: The Three Steps Into Your Career

Three Steps Into Your Career

The concept of career is a much-talked about issue as it affects everyone on the planet. People live all their lives planning towards a successful career. In fact, a successful person is seen as one who is flourishing in his/her career. And owing to the importance and imperativeness of career to people, the issue of career development has become a trending and ‘hot’ topic all over the world.

But what actually is a career? How can we define a career? To some people, a career is their job or vocation... To others, a career is that thing they love doing; anything else is not seen as a career. According to online dictionary, a career is an occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one's lifework (e.g. He sought a career as a lawyer); a person's progress or general course of action through life or through a phase of life, as in some profession or undertaking (e.g. His career as a soldier ended with the armistice).

Anyway, I define career as that thing you do with your life (a job, profession, or vocation) through which you make an impact and an income. Your job or profession makes an impact in the society and in peoples’ lives while also earning you a living. An engineer who builds roads and bridges is helping to build the society while also making money. A doctor treats the sick folks and also earns income from his profession... Just to mention a few.

Steps Into Your Career (The 3 Ps)
In career development, there are certain steps (I have categorized them into 3) you must follow to be successful in your career. These steps or stages (which I term ‘3 Ps’ of career development) are:

1.    Preparation Stage
2.    Practice Stage
3.    Profit Stage

Preparation Stage:
This is the ‘Genesis’ of your career.  It involves in-depth and thorough thinking about your career choice --- what you really want to do with your life; how you plan to do it; the skills you need and how you plan to acquire those skills. There is no set time or age for this stage; it all depends on when you feel ready to start your career pursuit; although the earlier the better.

In this stage also, you decide (depending on your passion and flair) a course of study to pursue in school, a trade or vocation to learn, and so on. Your focus here is kick-starting your career journey, not to start making money. This stage also encompasses your school days, when you are going through training to prepare yourself with relevant knowledge and skills for your chosen field.

Practice Stage:
Having defined your career path and actively working towards it either by studying a relevant course or learning a relevant trade, you need to start practicing your career via different means like internship for students or some other on-the-job skills acquisition programs. The underlying issue here is you should take full responsibility for your career and seek out more practical learning opportunities for yourself. Do not just sit back and blame your school or the government (especially in third world countries) for not providing adequate facilities or infrastructures for experiential learning.

An electrical engineering student, for instance, can connect with electricians during his semester break to work with them just to learn more skills in his field; a computer science undergraduate can also work in some computer networking shops to bag in some needed skills in his field...and so on and so forth. The focus here is still not to make money, although some money could be earned in the process. The career-minded person can even reject internship or industrial attachment in some big organizations where he/she has been offered irrelevant training opportunities and rather accept opportunities in smaller organizations offering relevant skills acquisition program. The person is still working at equipping himself/herself with the skills for their profession. Sometimes, even your first job could be a ‘practising’ ground for you. For this reason, I advice fresh career starters to seek for jobs (their first-jobs) that will help further their skills and not just make them big money with no skills acquired.

Profit Stage:
Prior to this stage, you have already chosen you career path (or profession) and have worked tirelessly to gain all relevant skills and knowledge, now you are ready to be rewarded for all the skills you have garnered. 

The fact is that organizations don’t pay you for your paper qualifications or some shiny ivy-league certificates; you only get hired and paid for your usable and transferable skills that will help the organization achieve her goals.
This is the stage where money making is in your purview, although you are still very much minded about continuous learning and skills / knowledge acquisition.

The summary of this article is that you should not start-out your career pursuit with making money as your primary goal. You should first and foremost invest in yourself to acquire all needed skills and knowledge. Later, money becomes a worthy return on your investment.

Good luck


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