You may be lucky enough to work in an agency where your boss takes a very keen interest in helping you develop and grow in the agency and be the best Account Manager you can be.
You may be having a regular 6 month formal performance review, setting clear goals based on your own career aspirations, be receiving regular training to help you achieve those goals and be following a clear development plan.
You may be being stretched, challenged, receiving regular feedback, making sure you get opportunities to lead meetings, participate in pitches, ‘own’ the client relationship etc.
Or maybe you’re not.
What if you’re stuck and wondering what to do next?
If you’re feeling disgruntled that your career isn’t moving fast enough or you’re frustrated that you think you deserve a promotion and haven’t been recognised yet. What if you are considering jumping ship?
Then why not take matters into your own hands?
If you’re ambitious and would like to one day be running your own agency, or you’re undecided whether to stay with your current agency or move on, then start thinking about what you need to do to get yourself back on a definite track.
Don’t wait for anyone else to give you support and guidance, start thinking about how you can manage your own career and make progress.
Here are three things you can do right now:
1. Decide on your end game
No point in setting out on a journey if you don’t know roughly where you’re headed. Sounds cliche’d but decide what you want to be doing in 5 years. What makes you excited about your future? What do you see yourself doing? How are you spending your time? If you get stuck on this, ask yourself questions like “If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?”.
All thoughts of winning the lottery are great but you still need to spend your (precious and finite) time somehow. You only get one shot at this life, if you’re in the wrong job, change it.
2. What do you want to happen right now?
When you’ve decided on the general direction of your life, then review where you are now. What do you want to happen? A promotion? More recognition? Change of agency? Change of career?
Think about what change you need to make right now for it to be a step towards your end goal rather than away from your goal. For example, you want a promotion to the next level because your end goal is to be Client Services Director in 5 years or you want to develop your strategic skills because you want to work for yourself in 5 years etc.
3. Write a plan and take action
The next step is to write down exactly how you could achieve it. The more vivid you make the plan the better. It can be as succinct as one page long. Put your goal at the top of the page and then write down what steps you think to take to achieve it. What do you need to happen? What skills do you need to acquire?
Take the examples above:
You want a promotion: One ‘action step’ could be to develop a 90 day plan for yourself which is a mini-development plan containing 3 goals, with 3 steps that you need to take to achieve each goal over the next 3 months. Write the plan based on the current needs of the agency and things you think you should be doing to get you to the next level. Set up a meeting with your boss, share the plan and ask for agreement and their support in helping you achieve it. This way you are creating an opportunity for yourself to shine and showing bags of initiative at the same time.
Or the next example, where you want to work for yourself in 5 years and develop strategic skills: Ask your agency whether you can start shadowing the Strategic Director, get involved more in pitches and any opportunities for strategic thinking. Be keen, go the extra mile. If it’s something you really want to do, it shouldn’t take much effort.
What do you want to do next? Are you going to take any action or continue feeling that your career isn’t moving fast enough? Investing time and effort in thinking about your career is probably the biggest investment of your life because what you do will ultimately determine your life style. If this is important for you then think seriously about it and don’t let the grass grow under your feet.
Let me know if this is helpful and what other tips you can give by adding a comment in the box below.