Who cares about your career the most? The answer: You.
While your children are impacted by your career decisions, no one cares about your career more than you. That’s why all professionals need to manage their career like a project, having clear action items defined for project initiation, inspection, planning, executing, control, and success.
The following is an adaptation of a career map shared by Vice President of Manufacturing & Warehouse Operations at PepsiCo Reggie Haith. Haith is a key thought leader with significant experience managing large supply chain organizations spanning people, business, and technical systems. Another version of the map was shared with Haith by consumer goods executives Martha White-Warren and Robin Bearden while he worked at Procter & Gamble.
“Because careers span decades, we oftentimes don’t think of them in the same way we think about projects. They are analogous to projects and should be managed very seriously,” Haith explains. “They should be talked in one-on-ones with your direct manager and his direct manager.”
The career map helps in career planning by helping professionals map out their career path, ideate more broadly about their career, articulate their career desires to key stakeholders, develop their elevator pitch and ultimately get what is most important to them. This particular career map for working parents waves their career and key personal milestones into one map. For example, by including kids’ ages in the career map, parents can quickly identify potential career roles that could be impacted by a child going off to college.
This career map is a living document that can change over time. It encompasses the professional development skills, experiences, and sponsorship a professional needs to advance. Other factors include promotions, compensation, intrinsic value, location, and the type of work. Haith recommends that to ensure success, parents should work on delivering results, demonstrate their ability and willingness to be versatile and flexible, be prepared to quickly leverage opportunities, and concede that sponsorship is necessary. “Delivering great results is the price of entry but as Louis Pasteur said, ‘chance favors the prepared mind’,” Haith adds.
Due to the parent penalty, finding sponsorship can be challenging for working parents since 72% of both working moms and dads agree that women are penalized in their careers for starting families, while men are not. Men aren’t penalized as severely, but they can still face backlash.
After reviewing the career map above, working parents should ask themselves the following:
- What do I want to get out of my career,
- What criteria must be met to meet my goals,
- What time frame am I working against in my career, and most importantly:
- Who do my behaviors indicate I believe cares about my career the most?
There are also advantages for employers when they encourage working parents to populate their career map. Mapping out a career trajectory encourages team members to question their goals and produce better results; that self-awareness ultimately leads to employees who are happy, motivated, and challenged. “It is not one-sided. It benefits the employee personally and the company,” Haith adds.