Your Career Journey: Are you owning your career journey?

There is one lesson you learn quickly once you enter the workforce. It is this: no-one else will take charge of managing you career. You must take steps towards owning your career journey.



have (something) as one’s own; possess.

be the owner of, possess, be the (proud) possessor of, have in one’s possession, have to one’s name, count among one’s possessions, have, keep, retain, maintain, hold, be blessed with, enjoy, boast

There are many companies that assist new employees to define their career path. But, unless you drive the process yourself, the plan will never become a reality.

Understanding ownership of your career journey

Taking ownership of your career might mean different things to different people. However, they all centre around you taking responsibility for your career. It could include:

  • Understand where you want your career to go
  • Plot out a clear path for how to get there
  • Invest in your personal development to make this possible
  • Rally support and mentors to assist you in your growth
  • Communicate with conviction what you want from your career
  • Take responsibility for your mistakes and achievements
  • Make changes to your plans if they are not delivering the results you want

Where do you want to go?

If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know how to get there. So, make sure you are clear about what it is that you wish to achieve with your career.

The answer to this question could be as big or as small as you want it to be. It could relate to your current job, or preferably, look at your entire career as a whole.

By looking at your career as a whole, it is easier to gain a broader perspective. Today’s insignificant and unpleasant tasks can propel you to achieve your overall career goals.

We have designed a template which you can complete in order to document your career goals.

Remember, always make sure that your goals are SMART(ER):

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Then, as time passes, add the -ER:

  • Evaluate
  • Re-adjust

Take note, goals are dynamic, not static. In other words, you should revisit and revise your goals to make sure they stay SMART. A goal might be relevant today, but in a few years’ time, you may find that’s no longer the case.

How will you get there?

One of the most common ways to map out your career journey, is to use a tool called a Development Plan.

This tool helps you to identify:

  • where you are now
  • where you want to be
  • your strengths and weaknesses
  • opportunities you have or want

Once you have gone through these areas, you can then start plotting out the steps you need to take to get there. This will include allocating target dates, as well as the people who can help you along the way.

Download the Career Development Plan Template* which has been designed to take you through the process of arriving at your personal next steps.

*This template has been adapted based on an article by the University of British Columbia. They also provide extra resources to complete your Development Plan here.

Other resources

Lastly, there are many articles available about taking ownership of your career. You can check out a few listed below:

Forbes: Do These Four Things To Own Your Career

Huffpost: 10 Essential Tips to ‘Own Your Career

Monster: Take Charge of Your Own Career Planning

In conclusion

In conclusion, it is clear that you need to take ownership of your own career. Although it doesn’t mean YOYO (you’re on your own), it does mean you must commit time and energy to owning your career journey. If you don’t, you will be like a yo-yo… Going up and down without actually going anywhere.

So, the question is, are you owning your career journey? Leave us a comment down below about your career journey.