Series: Proverbs for Business
“The hand of the diligent will rule,
while the slothful will be put to forced labor.” Proverbs 12:24 (ESV)
Who controls your career path?
As I’ve written before, I don’t believe the Bible teaches that God has a specific plan mapped out for your life but expects you to make decisions that are moral and good. Since we don’t have to look for omens or vague feelings to guide our career choices, we need to use good judgment and strategic decision making. How much control do you have on your career path?
Internally-driven people realize that they have to look for or create opportunities and make decisions that advance their career growth. Externally-driven people are waiting for the company or their boss to give them a path and promote them and that the market gives and takes away growth potential. Though you may not be a lazy worker, as in the proverb above, if you are not diligent about taking control of your career direction you will, like the forced laborer, only have what life circumstances force you to accept.
If you do not direct your business path, someone will do it for you. If you leave the direction to others you must remember that they are acting in their own interest and will only help you inasmuch as it helps them. No one will be as passionate or invested in your career success as you so don’t expect even the most benevolent boss to provide the best career guidance.
Your skills are your job security
I interviewed with a successful CEO and asked about job security should I switch to his company. He provided the most sage answer that has proved to be true: your skills are your job security. Learn new software, maintain knowledge of what is going on in the industry and where it is going, develop and enhance communication, productivity, and leadership skills and be a lifelong learner and your skills will remain current and useful no matter what happens with your current job. This requires sacrifice and diligence. This requires unpaid time away from the office reading industry and general business books, blogs, and magazines, attending industry association and general training, and developing business relationships outside of your company and industry. In developing these skills, you will provide more value to your company and be able to direct your career path instead of being forced to do whatever is available.