Liz asks: Do you treat your career like a profession?

Summary: There’s only you to hold you accountable, to make sure you meet your business and revenue goals. You can apply the same skills business owners, consultants, and executives use to advance their business to advance your career. Do you treat your career like a profession or do you have simply a collection of jobs behind you?

I’ve been a consultant for a long time, but what really excites me is helping others build their careers and businesses. To that end, we started a project called the TC Dojo Conclave which is designed to bring serious professionals together to grow their business acumen and awareness.

Technical writing is unique in that almost all of us transition between employee and consultant at some point in our career.  At some point in our career we will employ the skills of a consultant, taking on more of an advisory role either in our own business or to the benefit of a larger organization.

In a company, someone else sets your milestones and evaluates your annual performance. Independents are on their own. There’s only you to hold you accountable, to make sure you meet your business and revenue goals.  Independents and consultants do all those things themselves in order to meet the revenue goals they have set for their businesses.

These are skills you should apply to your career as well. Do you have revenue goals you want to meet in your lifetime? Are you actively evaluating each step on your career path as a series of steps that will get you where you want to go?

It was easy when we were younger. You have the goals that are set by society: go to school, graduate, go to college, graduate, get job. But which job? What comes next?

are we talking about your career as a profession or just a hobby

Most of us do not take an active role in the path that follows. We accept jobs, one after another, as we come upon them. When we do this, we’re not treating our career path like a profession. But we should.

Professionals evaluate each possible employment opportunity as a stepping stone. When you treat your career like a profession, you evaluate each job for the qualities that will take you to the next step on the path you want to pursue in your career.

We struggle, though, when we look at our careers this way. We have no one else planning our milestones. No one else holding us accountable. No one to tell us to take one job over another. It’s why we created our new project, the TC Dojo Conclave.

a set of advisors in your pocket

With the Conclave, you have people in your pocket. The Conclave is a group of technical publications professionals who want to grow their business acumen. They hold each other accountable for their individual goals, like having a board of directors in your back pocket.

They don’t compete against each other. We provide honest and candid feedback to each other. Sometimes we bring each other in; and sometimes we are brought in. We tap into those struggles, challenges, and strength of the other members.

The technical writing market is competitive. If you’re not looking at your career as a profession, then it’ll only ever be a job. You’ll be lucky if you meet your goals by accident because you’re not following a plan to guarantee you make it there.

If you’re looking to step up and treat your career path as if it’s a trajectory, then join the TC Dojo Conclave and get a group of people who will help you meet your career goals. Take an active role in deciding your career trajectory. Know that you can hit the target your aiming for. Blind luck really doesn’t work out all that well.

Take that next big leap with confidence.

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Author: Liz Fraley

Liz Fraley has founded two companies, sits on the boards of three non-profits, and is constantly coming up with new ways to share knowledge in the technical communications and content industries. https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethfraley/

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