We spend a huge part of our adult lives working, so we should pay serious attention to how we can build careers that both stimulate and satisfy us.
By its very nature, Health and Safety is a profession in which many have already made progress towards a satisfying career. To protect the Safety, Health and Welfare of other human beings while in their place of work is intrinsically satisfying, and one of the reasons high-calibre individuals are drawn to the profession.
However noble and satisfying protecting lives is at a basic level, most individuals require more from their careers. Health and Safety professionals also want to go beyond the call of duty to satisfy their own interests and motivations.
So is it possible to design a grand plan that will realise your wildest ambitions? I do not believe so. However, it is possible to increase your chances of realising your ambitions as a Health and Safety professional via thoughtful planning and devising some simple strategies.
It is important to be smart when evaluating each step in your career. To prepare for whatever surprises lie ahead, try to make choices today that will maximise your options in the future. The first task is to take some time out to think about your career; not just what you are doing now, but think about where you want to go, ask yourself:
- What are my short, medium, and long-term goals?
- Do I have the resources, skills and knowledge to achieve these goals?
- What considerations or constraints are there to me achieving these?
- Am I in the right role now to achieve my career goals and ambitions? If the answer is no, then how do you change that?
The Career Map
Here is where I would like to introduce a useful tool: a Career Map is a device to use when looking at the above. It will prompt you to ask yourself questions that you wouldn’t usually ask yourself and take a more objective view of your own career.
So now you have completed your Career Map what do you do? It is important to find someone you trust to talk through this. This may be a colleague, your manager, a mentor or a career agent. The benefits of using a mentor or career agent are to gain unbiased advice. Talking through the career map you will identify actions that will form the basis of a plan which will include things to do in the short, medium and longer-term.
Additionally it is useful to consider the following recommendations that can be applied to build a platform from which you can push your career forward:
- Have an ambition – link this to what stimulates and motivates you, and what makes you happy.
- Get fully qualified – achieve CMIOSH status and identify qualifications relevant to your ambitions.
- Become influential – find a mentor, read up on the subject, and attend courses, as being able to influence people will not just boost your career but help you influence safety cultures.
- Be commercially aware – employers value individuals who ‘get’ their business and their industry, so take time to understand the big picture.
- Broaden your experiences – seek out ways to expose yourself to new industries, skills, roles, companies and countries.
- Pull yourself away from social media, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, and instead talk to real people face-to-face. Build real relationships and use these as a springboard to realise your career ambitions through mutual benefit.
So in conclusion, start thinking today about your career. Take some time to complete the career map and ask yourself those key questions to help you understand where you want to go in your career. Identify a mentor or career agent to discuss your career map with and finally formulate an action plan to enable you to achieve your goals and ambitions; whether they are short, medium or long-term.
It shouldn’t be a straight choice between working to live or living to work, but it makes sense to give yourself the best chance to be fulfilled in all areas of your life. Give it the attention you deserve!
Our Guest Blogger is Shirley Parsons Associates
Shirley Parsons Associates is a specialist Health & Safety and Environmental recruitment agency. It is the only specialist agency headed by a chartered safety professional and environmental specialist. From a standing start in 2005 the company is now the largest privately owned specialist HS&E recruitment business in the UK.
Their passion for creating healthier, safer environments across all industries extends to recruiting other disciplines outside of full-time specialist HS&E professionals. They have created a dedicated technical construction and engineering division following interest from their infrastructure clients. This means they also supply H&S literate professionals, covering commercial, technical and site based skills.
Working outside the UK?
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