One of the big changes that has occurred over the past 20 years is related to how you progress in your career. It used to be that the firm hired you and gave you work to do. Your responsibility was to keep your head down, learn and perform well. The firm’s leaders would tell you when you were ready for a raise or promotion. With patience and hopefulness, you would eventually rise.
It’s totally different now and has been for about two decades or so. Today, there is no clear-cut “paths” that are neatly laid out before you. You have multiple options in what you could do. The prediction that you are likely to have a job that didn’t even exist 5 years ago has never been more true. All of that means it’s imperative for you to navigate your own path.
If you think about your career and the firm differently, you will fare better. Think of the firm as the place you chose to establish and grow your career. The firm leaders took a chance on you before you proved yourself. They accepted the risks associated with employing you.
From there, the firm provides you with a place to work, including a desk, technology, office and administrative support. It gives you actual work that’s more than homework assignments. You work with actual clients to apply your skills—clients you didn’t have to find yourself. You are given mentors and coaches that guide your development, instructing you in the finer aspects of your technical discipline. And to top it all off, they even pay you to pursue your career—with benefits! Looking at this way, is there a better deal out there?
With the responsibility on you and with the support, direction and guidance of your firm, you have a great opportunity—but you have to take it. The firm is no longer in charge of your career. It’s yours. So pay attention, focus on your path and navigate yourself to success and fulfillment.