How to Grow in Your Profession: Tips From a Career Counseling Expert

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The path from novice specialist to a professional in demand in the labor market consists of many stages. Careful planning will not help to avoid all the difficulties, but by investing in your knowledge and skills and forming connections in your chosen field, you can achieve your goal and achieve significant success in your career.

Here's how to begin your professional development, how to succeed in your profession, what challenges may arise on your career path, and how to increase your value.

Career Planning: What Method to Choose for the Novice Professional

Planning a career path is the first step in the development of a specialist. Expecting a mythical vocation and searching for super-motivation and super-inspiration are ineffective, it's much more important to proceed not from perfect ideas, but from your own interest and abilities, to assess your strengths and weaknesses and areas of activity in which you can successfully apply them or hide weaknesses.

There are two methods of career planning, which can be conventionally called the agile approach and the waterfall model.

Both approaches came from project management, where they have been used for a long time, although the waterfall method is displaced in digital due to the lack of flexibility.

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The waterfall approach is defining a big career goal and building a roadmap to help achieve that goal. A person who decides to make career plans using this approach chooses the position or job for which he or she most aspires, and builds a roadmap by which he or she can achieve what he or she wants. It's like a planned trip: the final destination is determined, tickets and hotels are booked, the itinerary is laid out and all excursions are scheduled in advance. Every step is prescribed, as if the entire career is a rigid term of reference with clearly defined deadlines, from which you can not deviate.

There may be doubts about the effectiveness of this model: it may seem weakly applicable in the ever-changing modern world. But the waterfall model is viable if one is confident in one's career choice and does not consider any alternatives.

This approach carries certain dangers, especially for beginners. When moving toward a goal, there are many factors that cannot be foreseen. There may be an impression that everything goes completely wrong.

Remember that it's okay for events not to go according to a perfect plan. In any journey, deviating from the planned route, you can stumble upon unique places and gain unexpected insights. In the same way, emerging difficulties on the way to a dream career can be overcome with the benefit of learning new experiences and acquiring new skills.

The Agile approach involves dividing the process into mini-tasks and performing them one by one. The advantage of this method is flexibility: obstacles on the career path are turned into milestones, small failures are easily enough overcome, and the successful completion of tasks motivates.

On this path, you know your ultimate goal, but you aren't constrained by a rigid framework. You know where you have to go, and you move your career in short sprints - steps that adjust to the situation at hand. Unplanned professional training or forced job changes don't ruin your plan, but fit into it as additional steps.

Barriers to Development: Peak Stupidity and Impostor Syndrome

The so-called Dunning-Kruger effect is known: when the first successes begin, a person falls into euphoria. Everything seems simple and clear; one can easily imagine oneself a professional. This is the moment when the peak of stupidity sets in.

The main danger of this period isn't even the mistakes a novice specialist makes, but the risk of being stuck in this state and blaming not your own incompetence, but everyone around you.

That the employee finds himself at the peak of stupidity is quite easy to determine. It seems to him that he is better and more professional than his surroundings. Any projects are seen as unreasonably easy, he can cope with any task, and everyone else only slows down the work. Other markers are denial of feedback, especially developmental feedback, and incorrectly setting deadlines for tasks, when it seems that the work is done in a week, but in fact, much more time is required.

Peak stupidity isn't a problem if a person realizes his mistake in time. This phenomenon should be treated as a career stage peculiar to many people. The main thing is to get out of this state in time, best of all with the support of older colleagues.

The opposite situation occurs when a person acquires impostor syndrome. He begins to feel that he is worse and sillier than those around him, and that as a specialist he is worthless. An overly critical attitude towards oneself is also a normal stage in the development of a professional. In this situation, feedback from colleagues and supervisors and an objective comparison of one's achievements with those of others will help.

If Work Is Boring: How to Avoid Burnout

No matter how interesting and exciting your work is, at some point routine inevitably begins. Daily activities turn into monotony, the initial drive and enthusiasm wanes. It seems that everything is stuck in one place, there is no progress. As a result, you start gambling at Bob Casino instead of working.

When a negative attitude toward a profession that originally seemed interesting and exciting begins to accumulate, you need to change your approach: get on a value level and understand what problems are being solved at the moment, to whom you can help with your activities. Build your next step on your career path, focusing on the problem you want to solve and choosing what you care about.

Growing Financially: How to Increase Your Value in the Labor Market

In the process of professional development and in attempts to increase your income, there is often a temptation to look around and see what professions are now at their peak.

Before you drop everything and rush headlong into a new high tech area, it's worth evaluating whether it fits your career plans, how much time and effort it will take to succeed in the new field and whether you can then convert those efforts into income. It may be better to invest in existing competencies in order to increase your market value in the area in which you are currently engaged.

Connections and acquaintances, social capital is a booster that can help you increase your income. In this case, a particularly important role is played not by your immediate circle of acquaintances, but by distant ones - people engaged in the professions to which you aspire. They are the ones who can help you break into the fields you want.

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