We spend about a third of our days at our jobs, and yet roughly 70 percent of us are unhappy with our careers.
While a lack of praise from leadership can explain this unhappiness, the job’s fit may be a problem, too. It’s not necessarily that an employee isn’t smart enough to do the job they’ve chosen; even the smartest people make poor career decisions. Rather, poor career choices often happen because a person doesn’t have all the information they need to make a decision that will positively impact their long-term career goals.
In fact, a lack of information is the No. 1 reason why job seekers make bad career decisions.
I often see job seekers say yes to any and all job opportunities given to them by recruiters without thinking about the long-term consequences of taking on each job. It is important that, instead of jumping at every offer, professionals take time to scope out the whole situation and really think through the impacts of their decisions.
Here are a few steps you can take to make learning a part of your decision-making strategy for long-term career success:
Recognize Learning as the Solution
You can certainly learn how to make the right move at the right time, so it’s important to recognize learning itself as a job search solution and career success principle. Learning gives you the opportunity to research and gather the information you need to make better decisions.
Learning is not just limited to what you read in books; you can learn from experiences, podcasts, career consultants, coaches, mentors, and peers.
Love the Learning Process
Learning should be a lifelong pursuit, so it’s vital that you learn to love the process. Many top industry leaders and influencers even go so far as setting aside five hours for dedicated learning every week.
By learning to love the learning process, you can establish learning as a habit. As a result, you’ll be spending time every week growing your career and speeding up your job search.
Remain in ‘Student Mode’
Being in “student mode” means being in a constant state of learning. When you are in the student mode, you’re always looking to gain insight. This will help you more easily find the information you need to reinvent yourself when the climate for your industry changes, or you require new skills to excel in your career path.
Celebrate Each Milestone
Just as it is important to love the process of learning, it is also important to celebrate each milestone that you reach. Acquiring a new skill doesn’t come to anyone easily. Treat yourself to something nice when you master a new ability or otherwise accomplish your goals.
Making a smart career move requires more than knowing how to do the job for which you’re applying; it also means understanding your whole career so that you don’t deviate from the plan.
Being in the student mode on a consistent basis allows you to stay ahead of the curve and beat your competition whenever necessary. Education and training are the pathways to job search and career success, so take time to learn everything you need to in order to have the career you desire. Proactively pursue connections with those who can teach you the skills you require. That is how you will become a well-rounded professional who can handle themself at work.
By making lifelong learning a cornerstone of your career plan, you will set yourself up to make smarter short- and longterm career decisions.
Nader Mowlaee is an engineering career coach and recruiter who is motivated by building confidence in engineers.