We all talk about our desire for career growth and career development, but do you know that these two are different? Did you know that you can have one without the other and still do tremendously well in your career?
Basically, career growth has to do with the goals you set and where you envision your career going. It entails compartmentalised stages set as norms in your specific industry that you work hard towards. It usually comes in the form of promotion from one role to a higher one based on performance and experience.
Career development is all about the transformation that happens to you as you strive to achieve your goals. The skills, the experience and learnings you gain as a byproduct of growth. When you immerse yourself in an environment that pushes you to grow and learn new things, you look back after a while and you will be amazed by how far you have come. When you push yourself to become a better you, you enhance your strengths and skills. You might not even move to a new role, you can transform yourself right where you are.
With a clear understanding of what career growth and career development is, what each contributes to your career journey; you can make these two work for you, depending on the industry you are in. This is because growth in some industries is not indicated by how fast or how far you rise in positions because there are few or no positions to grow into. For instance, once you become a doctor, what can you grow into? In such industries, career development in terms of experience, expertise, networks and skill are the main indicators of moving ahead.
Below are ways of ensuring you develop your career, regardless of whether you move up any ladder or not;
Talk to your boss about the importance of you growing your skills and the value you will add to the company. You can then agree on time and resources allocation for your continued learning. You can also decide to take online courses that require less resource allocation.
Finding new, working solutions for problems in your workspace forces you to learn and sharpen your skills. If you make it your goal to constantly find new solutions that work better to solve problems and headaches in your company’s systems, you are growing your innovation muscle. With time, you will realise that you have gained new skills and have become an expert in your area. Career development is a key ingredient in visionary leaders (note we said leaders and not managers).
Engaging your peers in the industry is a sure way to develop your skills and become an expert. You cannot develop in isolation because it is not about you, but the industry. Connecting with peers keeps you up-to-date with trends, provides inspiration and insights; and provides a platform for you to showcase your skills to people who truly understand the intricacies of what you do.
Having understood the differences between career growth and career development, you are now empowered to consciously employ both to move ahead and progress in your career.