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The 7 stages of your career

Your career has 7 predictable stages.

  • Each is characterized by a specific challenge.
  • If you meet that challenge, you move to the next stage.
  • If you don’t, you remain at that stage until you do.

Read over the list and decide where you are today.


Stage
Challenge
The School to Work Transition Meeting expectations
Establishing Credibility Performing well
Learning the Informal System Fitting into the culture
Understanding Social Dynamics Working with diverse people
Scrutinizing the Power Game Confronting ethical issues
Hitting the Cement Ceiling Deciding to move up or out
Striking a Balance Choosing a lifestyle


To progress from one stage to the next, follow these guidelines:

Stage 1
The School to Work Transition
Be realistic.
Accept that you must pay your dues.
Focus on doing your first job well.
Understand people in general, not just one group.
Experiment with career options during your 20’s.
Stage 2 Establishing Credibility
Prove yourself.
Demonstrate competence each day.
Make sure to speak up.
Show you’re a team player.
Ask for help when you need it.
Trust that things will get better.
Stage 3 Learning the Informal System
Be prepared.
Join conversations early on.
Ask interesting questions.
Include everyone in the discussion.
Build a network.
Plan what you’ll say if you’re excluded.
Stage 4 Understanding Social Dynamics
Be clear where you stand.
Project a sense of professionalism.
Handle conflict on a case-by-case basis.
Object to inappropriate behavior as soon as it starts.
Ask for support from diverse individuals.
Know your rights under the law
Stage 5 Scrutinizing the Power Game
Notice ethical issues.
Know your values.
Observe how people you respect handle politics.
Discuss power with a savvy mentor.
Set limits on what you’ll agree to do.
Suggest actions that don’t compromise your standards
Stage 6 Hitting the Cement Ceiling
Challenge roadblocks.
Remember you do have options.
Practice describing what it is you want.
Take the initiative.
Develop contacts in the New Girl New Boy Network
Cultivate patience, wisdom, and joy.
Stage 7 Striking a Balance
Know thyself.
Put your personal and professional goals in writing.
Develop timelines for achieving them.
Communicate your plans to family and friends.
Spend time with people whose lives are in balance.
Decide to have it all but not all at once.