6 Unusual Ways to Take Control of Your Career Development

6 Unusual Ways to Take Control of Your Career Development

When it comes to career development, most people follow a similar path: go to college, get a job, work hard, get promoted. While this formula can work for some, it’s not the only way to achieve success in your career. In fact, sometimes taking an unconventional approach can lead to greater opportunities and fulfilment. Here are six unusual ways to take control of your career development in the world of Accounting and Finance.

1. Create Your Own Job

Instead of waiting for a job to open in your field, why not create your own? This may seem like a daunting task, but with the rise of entrepreneurship and the gig economy, it’s easier than ever to start your own business or offer your services as a freelancer. Think about your skills and interests and how you can turn them into a profitable venture. You may need to start small and build up your client base, but with persistence and hard work, you can create a career that’s uniquely tailored to your strengths and passions.

My consultancy business simply came from waking up in the middle of the night with an idea!

2. Pursue a Passion Project

If you’re feeling stuck in your current job or unsure of your career direction, consider pursuing a passion project on the side. This could be anything from writing a novel to starting a podcast to volunteering for a cause you care about. Not only will this give you an outlet for your creativity and interests, but it can also lead to unexpected opportunities and connections. Plus, pursuing a passion project can help you build skills that you can apply to your current job or future career.

3. Find a Mentor Outside Your Field or Consider a Coach

While it’s important to have mentors inside your industry who can offer guidance and support, don’t overlook the benefits of finding a mentor outside your field. This person can offer a fresh perspective and expose you to new ideas and ways of thinking. For example, if you work in finance, you may benefit from having a mentor who works in the arts or non-profit sector. This can help you broaden your horizons and think outside the box when it comes to your career development.

Coaching is another growing professional development tool for finance professionals. Learn more about coaching from this article, Coaching for Senior Finance Leaders: Invest In Yourself and Your Company

4. Take a Sabbatical

Taking a sabbatical - a period of time off from work - may seem counterintuitive when it comes to career development. However, taking a break can actually help you gain clarity and perspective on your career goals and direction. Use this time to travel, volunteer, or pursue a hobby or passion project. You may come back to work with renewed energy and focus, or you may realize that it’s time for a change in your career path.

5. Build a Personal Brand

In today’s digital age, building a personal brand (I do prefer the old school terminology of your reputation) can be a powerful tool for career development. This doesn’t mean you need to become an Instagram influencer or YouTube star, but it does mean that you should be intentional about how you present yourself online and offline. This can include creating a personal website, sharing your work on social media such as LinkedIn, or speaking at industry events. By building a personal brand, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field and attract new opportunities and connections.

To build an effective personal brand you need to have a reputation that resonates with your audience. Here is a piece on the Value of Our Reputation.

6. Embrace Failure

Finally, one of the most unusual - and counterintuitive - ways to take control of your career development is to embrace failure. Many of us are taught to fear failure and avoid it at all costs. However, failure can be a powerful teacher and can help you learn and grow in your career. Instead of seeing failure as a setback, view it as an opportunity to learn, adjust, and try again. In the book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck it describes that by embracing failure, you can build resilience and develop a growth mindset. Both of which are essential for long-term career success.

This related article, Why Failure Is Not About Losing, defines failure as not trying.

To conclude, taking control of your career development doesn’t have to follow a prescribed path. By embracing unconventional approaches, you can create a career that’s uniquely tailored to your strengths and passions. Whether it’s creating your own job, pursuing a passion project, finding a mentor, or seeking out opportunities outside of your current field, there are countless ways to take ownership of your career trajectory.

The key is to stay curious, adaptable, and open to new experiences. Remember, your career is not a static entity, but a dynamic journey that evolves over time. By taking control of your career development, you can shape a fulfilling and meaningful career that aligns with your values and aspirations.

So, consider taking an educated risk, and start exploring the possibilities today!

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