Anyone who knows me understands I love analogies and metaphors when talking almost everything. For this blog post I'd like you to envision yourself and your career as a car. What kind of car is it and specifically, what type of transmission do you have?
It wasn't all that many years ago that people in larger organizations, be they government or business had automatic transmission careers. They would start at a particular place and there they would stay for the rest of their career. Ideally they would progress through the ranks of the company when jobs opened up in their section or division. Perhaps the career progression would include getting assignments in different parts of the company and in different areas of the nation. In the end though, you had your career in "Drive" and you were along for the ride. HR did the shifting for you.
While the clear majority of cars being produced today in the United States are automatic transmissions, perhaps a few "paddle shifters" are there too, careers are no longer in "D." If you are going to have career progression you are going to need to grab the shift knob and take control of your life and transition to a manual transmission career.
"Do you know how to drive stick?" This would be the typical question offered to someone who is about to get into a car with a manual transmission. If you don't know how to "drive stick" you probably won't go very far and certainly not very smoothly. I recommend you stay off of hills!
So too, just saying you are going to adopt a manual transmission style of career progression doesn't mean that you will be good at it from the start. Training and practice are what is needed. Reading up on your profession, being good at what you do, and then understanding the ins and outs of job hunting and networking are important to taking control of your career.
Shifting gears and working for a variety of organizations isn't a bad thing to do. It will broaden your horizons and you can always go back to an organization you left before, given they have some enlightened leadership. And, if it fits for your lifestyle and personal desires you need to be prepared to relocate to another state or community in order to keep progressing.
Good luck, happy driving and "don't pop the clutch!"
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Claire Rubin, Recovery Diva, has an interesting blog posting on the recent FEMA initiative to hire staff. Her point being there are many, many graduates of various schools of higher learning that can't find jobs in emergency management, yet FEMA is looking to other sources to fill their needs.
Recently I spoke with one lucky young woman who did land a job in the private sector. She estimated there were another 20 classmates of her's that would like to work in the profession, but can't find jobs.
See Composition of FEMA workforce – what are they thinking? and add a comment if you have one on this topic. Using trained/educated people in the field seems like a no brainer to me.
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