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If You Don’t Know WHAT You Want, HOW to Get it Doesn’t Matter

If You Don’t Know WHAT You Want, HOW to Get it Doesn’t Matter

I was at a media industry conference, leading a workshop on breaking out of the mid-career plateau. While all the participants were somehow connected to media organizations, there was a lot of variety in how the participants defined what it would look like to break out of a career plateau.

Here were just some of the career demands:

  • More money.
  • Higher title.
  • Bigger team.
  • Access to senior leadership.
  • Decision-making authority.
  • Greater autonomy over your work.

[Related: Seven Strategies to Transform Your Career and Boost Your Success]

Many people wanted a combination of things, and some didn’t know exactly what they wanted – just more…or the feeling of moving forward.

Negotiating for more money or a higher title or more resources, like a bigger team or access to senior leadership, are all doable. Sometimes multiple demands come together. However, typically diverse goals need to be approached individually with a specific strategy and tactics for each.

[Related: Consider What to Keep and Stop to Reinvigorate Life and Career]

In order to craft the right strategy and select the appropriate tactics, you need to know how you’ll measure forward movement in your career. Otherwise, you might end up with something you don’t care about, or worse, keep spinning your wheels in place.

The right next move could be a new job, a different career altogether, or staying put and changing something else about your situation. Helping my clients clarify what’s next for their career is one of my key roles as their coach. You might lean on a mentor, read biographies for ideas and inspiration, or take a retreat and use the alone time to self-reflect.

[Related: Three Practices to Help You Adapt, Thrive, and Stay Relevant in the Hybrid Work World]


Caroline Ceniza-Levine is the founder of the Dream Career Club and a career coach, writer, and media personality on job market issues. Caroline helps experienced professionals in tech, media, financial services and other industries make a great living doing work they love.

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