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Career by design: Forging your own path

Written by Caroline Dowd-Higgins. Posted in Featured

Published on October 31, 2018 with No Comments

That’s how my coaching client (I’ll call her Dawn) was feeling when we first met. Dawn was a manager at a non-profit and felt like she’d gone as far as she could go in her position. She’d been taking on more responsibility, and had expressed an interest in a promotion to her boss – feeling like it would be the next logical step – but to no avail. The org chart, as it stood, offered no opening.

Dawn began interviewing with other non-profits, but the more she interviewed, the more she appreciated the mission and people she was working with at her current job. Dawn had such passion and great ideas for ways she could help her association grow – I asked if there was any way that, instead of seeking a job outside of her association, she might create a new position within it.

The question got Dawn thinking – and visualizing. She put job hunting on hold, and, instead, started imagining how her ideal job in her current workplace would look. From there, she got busy taking the steps to make her case to management, which included:

Creating a proposal defining the new opportunity she’d identified to grow the association’s membership – explaining in detail how her skills would be an ideal match to spearhead the initiative

Within that proposal, creating an action plan which included a new job description and goals for the first year, along with a strategy for absorbing/ dividing up her current duties

Then, presenting the proposal to her immediate supervisor to determine viability

After pitching the proposal to her supervisor, Dawn was given the “green light” to present to upper management, and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. Within six months her new position was approved.

Of course, Dawn was ecstatic. Her hard work had paid off, and with this newly created position came exciting new challenges, renewed dedication, as well as a raise in pay.  Along with these benefits came a tremendous feeling of empowerment for Dawn. When she wasn’t being offered a promotion, she created one on her own. As Dawn puts it, “I designed a reason for me to stay.”

If you can solve a problem/ bring more value to your organization, I encourage you to explore the proper channels for letting your ideas be heard. Taking initiative and forging your own unique path on behalf of your skills, talents, and interests – whether in your existing job or in a new job or entrepreneurial venture – can serve you well!

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About Caroline Dowd-Higgins

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" now in the 2nd edition, and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Director of Career & Professional Development at the Indiana University Alumni Association and contributes to AOL Jobs, CNN Money, the British online magazine – The Rouse and More Magazine online. She is hosting and producing an online webisode series called: Thrive! about career & life empowerment for women. She hosts the international podcast series Your Working Life - on iTunes. Follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.

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