Taking Responsibility for Your Career

By: Julie East, Corp. Marketing & Recruiting

Sep 8, 2020

All human beings make mistakes and poor choices.  Sometimes, the mistakes seem to be out of our control and affect things like your career path. Maybe your career hasn’t stalled because of poor choices, but rather due to other reasons. However, you should first understand one thing – you are not the first person who has fallen short in their career. So how do you take responsibility for your career path? 



The most important step to taking responsibility for your career is to stop blaming others. Playing the “blame game” creates bitterness, resentment, and powerlessness. Whether it is due to negative co-workers, a lack of skills, lack of opportunity, or other hardships that inevitably come with life, own up to your responsibility to control your own life.  Because the truth is, your career is not about them; it’s about you. No one can take away your ability to take action and make a better life for yourself. It’s easy and convenient to blame others, but it does nothing to improve your career in the long run.  

98% of managers believe employees must take responsibility for their career development.  Whether that includes improving skills, or identifying job opportunities and career paths, it’s the employee’s responsibility to further their own career.



Before you can have a plan, you should have a clear outline of your strengths, weaknesses and interests. Ask yourself where you want to be in 10 to 20 years. Consider questions such as:  

  • What do I enjoy outside of work?
  • What do I want to achieve before I die?
  • What is it that I enjoy most about my current job?
  • What do I like least about my current job?
  • What are the most important features of the organization with whom I work?
  • What skills do I have/lack to advance my career?
  • What wouldn’t I give up, no matter what?
  • What salary do I need/want/believe I’m worth?
  • Is company benefits important enough in making a job decision?
  • What is stopping me from taking the next step in my career?

Once you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, it’s time to make an action plan.



Having clearly-defined goals reflects what you want to accomplish to improve yourself and to move forward in your career.  If you don’t know where you want to go, how will you get there? Take time to outline your aspirations. Detail in writing where do you want to be in your career in three years, five years, and 10 years. This will ensure that you are headed in the right direction and help you achieve your aspirations quickly and efficiently.  

  • Are there other skills you should learn, education you should pursue or certifications you should obtain?
  • Seek out feedback from supervisors and managers on what you’re doing well and on areas where you can improve.
  • Network with people within your department, people outside your department, and people in the same industry.
  • Set goals for yourself in addition to the ones set by your supervisor.
  • Help solve problems in other departments.
  • Keep track of your accomplishments and share them with your supervisor.
  • Know when and how to ask for a promotion or a raise.
  • Find out about training and tuition assistance. Are there company-sponsored training sessions you could attend?
  • Does your employer provide tuition reimbursement?



Sometimes, after all the self-analysis, planning, and training, there is no room for advancement at your current employer.  In those cases where advancement is not an option, you may need to look into switching companies or industries.  For example: You work for a family-owned furniture company handling many different aspects of the business: Shipping & Receiving, Production, Finishing, and Sales, but there is no advancement to a supervisor role.  You can go to another furniture company, or use the skills you have learned and go into a completely different industry where there are many opportunities for advancement.  

Be aware, however, that every time you change jobs, you will have to re-establish your value. If you learned a lot at your last job and were ready to become Manager of Logistics but couldn't because the Manager was the owner, use your expertise to step up to a new altitude by moving to a new company.  Don’t talk yourself out of a great prospect, but rather grab every new learning opportunity you see and watch your career get back on track.


About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today

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