Why not have a career manager? In the same fashion that high level athletes, movie stars & top singers have agents or managers…
I mean, don`t get me wrong, we do get help along the way. In school, you probably had access to a career counselor. If you went to a top school, they probably even offered career management as a perk to alumni, sometimes for life. You might have also gotten a couple of classes on writing a resume, maybe even on how to score well on interviews. When looking for a job, you can work with head hunters or a recruiting firm, recruiting web sites or apps, a career coach, and so on and so forth…
But what I was discussing with two friends in the recruiting business lately is that it`s one thing to offer recruiting for businesses and opportunities for candidates. It makes you sort of a broker in employment. But what about managing careers? What about managing career paths, skill sets, ongoing development? What about scoring aptitudes, testing personalities, coaching, etc? Wouldn’t we all benefit from having a long standing, long lasting relationship with our career manager? Someone we trust that saw us through school and the first couple of years of our career, helping build and manage our equity, helping strive for success and happiness? It exists in some shape or form, partially. But what about a full-fledged career manager?
Who`s managing your career? The answer is probably you. Hopefully with the help of your spouse, a friend, a mentor, your HR department, etc. Some people do a fantastic job of it. But many, if not most people I know, could use a little push, a nudge in the right direction. Let’s face it, managing one’s career can, at times, be a full-time job! And when that`s the case, we sometimes feel short ourselves because we have other obligations, duties, and responsibilities.
So why not build a business model of career management? It would probably be very similar to what top schools do for their Alumni but for profit. Wouldn’t you give 2-5-10-15-20% of your lifelong earnings to constantly have someone in your corner? Someone to hone your skills, test your aptitudes, keep your resume world class, develop your interview skills, help you network, constantly contribute to building your equity, your personal brand and your public relations; someone to keep an eye out for the best jobs, the best training, the best cities for you to consider? Wouldn’t you part with 10-15-20% of your earnings to continuously earn 20-30-50-100% more? I know, I would. And I`m very happy with where I`m at. It’s not about that. It’s about constant forward motion with true ease, true peace of mind, it`s just like having a team to support a professional athlete rather than train alone…
Both my friends are pretty accomplished in the recruiting world and they both liked the idea. It made sense to them on the first level. One thought it was a viable avenue and didn’t foresee any real hurdles other than the usual hurdles of being in business… The other pointed out that the law in Canada doesn’t allow for it. You can`t give the recruiting firm a permanent cut on your salary. But there`s ways around it. You can create your own company and be hired on contract as a consultant as an example. You might lose some of the benefits such as health insurance but there are now ways to collectively buy health insurance as a collective of small businesses. He still thought it was a promising avenue. There are also other creative ways to build that business model into a fully legitimate business that delivers real value while being perfectly aligned with any of those relatively dated laws.
I don’t know much about the industry so I might be delusional or missing a crucial point. But I think there`s room for the field to grow. These new career managers or agencies could market the peace of mind. Be all that you can be, discover your hidden talents, choose a career path that truly fits you. So many people I know choose a career path without exploring it. They decide they want to be a programmer, a mechanical engineer, a stock broker. And I often like to ask them if they know someone who does the job and if they’ve spent any time with them, discussing it or shadowing them or else. Sometimes they have, and that`s reassuring. Sometimes, they haven`t…and that`s scary. If you want to be something, if you’re choosing a career path, why not spend a lunch with a person who does that? Better, yet, why not shadow them for a day at work? A week even?
This is the kind of insight and support that a career manager or agency could offer on top of everything else… I don`t know about you but I wouldn’t mind having the extra resources in my corner. Seems like a good way to optimize one`s career path… What do you think?