Career Development as Your Family's Intellectual Property

Who is in Charge of Your Career?

Employees grumble that their employer doesn’t take enough of an interest in their career development. Meanwhile, the organization is wishing that employees would take more responsibility for their careers. Both feel as though their points are valid. How can we meet in the middle?

Organizations have a responsibility to ensure that resources and equitable processes are in place for employees to grow in their roles and learn new skills. That is a standard cost of doing business.

Your Career Development

Everyone’s individual career development should live for them as their family’s intellectual property. Just like a company has intellectual property that generates revenue for a business, every family has a set of skills, abilities, and credentials that exist to help their family live day to day and, hopefully, build wealth over time. The onus and responsibility are on each of us to take an active role in cultivating our skills so that value continues to increase over time.

Family IP in relation to your career can be knowledge about corporate workplaces, knowing how to network, the networks themselves, or even niche information about how to succeed in specific careers. If you don’t have this already, you can start to build this as the base of your family’s intellectual property, and provide this knowledge for current and future generations.

Here are the most popular questions that can help people to take on this IP mentality regarding career development.

What tools do I need to be able to operate as if my career development is my family’s intellectual property?

Awareness. Mindset. Desire. Accountability. You have to make your development your priority. Instead of waiting to be tapped for the next opportunity, proactively research the types of experiences that are most respected in your industry and put yourself on the list to be included and/or express your interest to decision-makers who make the selections. You could propose new opportunities that make sense based on the career goals that you have.

What measurable outcomes should we be focused on for our career?

First, align your career with a realistic snapshot of your life. Certain times you can focus on being a rockstar in your career. Other times, you may be just trying not to get fired.

Secondly, get comfortable with a squiggly career path that’s not a direct line trajectory. Sometimes you’ll have to step backward, sideways, or get off the trail completely. Sometimes you’ll have a few hundred-meter dashes where you’ll have short bursts of success when opportunities present themselves. Sometimes you may have to be content with one role that feels like a marathon.

The third measurable outcome is salary. Salary represents expanding amounts of responsibility. We should also use job titles as indicators of increasing levels of responsibility. Titles are meaningful in the marketplace. We need to debunk the misconception that titles don’t matter. In fact, they do. They are a part of the value of your resume, or in today’s world, the value of your LinkedIn page.

We need a new way of looking at career development. If you sit around thinking that your boss or your company take on the responsibility for your development, you may be waiting a long time for an opportunity that won’t arrive. Your career is your responsibility, and you need to take control of it now. How you manage your career will become a part of your family legacy.

Headshot photo of Allison Manswell.

Written by:
Allison Manswell
Leadership & Management
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