It's only as I've got older that I've become more career driven. I'm very selective about the terminology I use here because I don't want to give the wrong impression - my career is not my top priority. As a mother, nothing will ever be more important than raising my son. However as I've got older, my career has overtaken many other things on my priority list and it's now residing quite near to the top.
All my life I've thought (as do most people) that only those with high flying careers can be classed as "career focused". It's one of the biggest misconception of our twenties as millennials. I think that's why I enjoy being more career driven now that I'm getting closer to thirty - because I've realised that it's not an exclusive label that only those with six figure salaries can earn. You don't have to be in a multiple-degree level job, earning a stonking salary, to be classed as career focussed. Every working person with that inner motivation to do better, to improve and to move forward in their jobs and careers, are fully deserving of the term "career driven". Whether you work in retail or as a banker, whether you teach or care for the elderly... If you have career goals and you're working at any pace to achieve them, then you can class yourself as career driven. Feels good right?
Lots of people have career goals though, don't they? But not everyone knows what their next steps should be in achieving them. I spent years in my twenties having big dreams for my career, but having missed the University stage of life, in favour of working full time instead, it made me feel at a disadvantage to others. This resulted in my career falling pretty low on my priority list - I didn't know how to achieve my career goals so I didn't invest any energy in chasing them, or really, even realising what they were. Working with and knowing various entrepreneurs over the years (some of whom are mulit-millionaires and some of whom are the opposite) has taught me several things about how to be a successful career girl - and it's the knowledge I've learned through them that's helped me get my dream job - which I start later this month.
To be a successful career girl, the very first thing you need to do is ask yourself - what is the dream? From there you can set your goals. No matter what the dream, there's a way to achieve it. It doesn't even have to be of the stonking-salary standard, it could be that you want to progress to managing the shop you work in, or Team Leading. It might be that you want to completely start again, and your career dream is in a totally different industry... What's the dream? From here you can set the goal posts to achieve it.
The key to being a successful career girl is investment. I'm not talking financially (although it can be financial investment if that's an option for you.) I'm talking about time - you need to invest time in being career focused - it doesn't just happen on it's own. If you're striving to take the next step on the career ladder then you need to reinforce this with a time investment. That's in: listening to podcasts within your chosen industry - find an expert and research them: how did they do it? How can you learn from their lessons? Invest time in learning - you're never too old to learn something new. Keep up to date with industry changes, trends and practices. Whatever career industry you're in, there's so much to learn both from the past, the present and the forecasted future changes. Investing time in learning about these catapults you forward into career expert territory, thus making you a better, more knowledgable candidate when it comes to interviews and promotions. Invest in reading, listening, watching and learning as much as you can.
If you do have the finances, then why not invest in a course or extra qualification? Education isn't cheap, and I wish I'd appreciated it more when I was younger but if you can afford it, then investing in education is the best investment you'll make in your career journey.
Along with teaching yourself and investing time in research and keeping up to date with your industry news - remember to be teachable. It's easy to teach yourself - you can go at your own pace, do as much or as little as you like, and there's no-one staring back at you expecting some sort of lightbulb reaction to their words. However if you want to be a successful career girl then you need to be teachable. Mentors are massively encouraged in the entrepreneurial world, and I think career girls are missing a trick if they think it's something they can miss out on and still expect to progress their careers fast. Finding a mentor should be relatively easy - whether it's an industry expert that you can go and listen to as they speak, or someone you can pay to be your mentor on a 1-2-1 basis. It could even be a manager, or someone in a more senior role - but mentoring is an amazing way of getting yourself some specific coaching and advice - which will help you become more successful as a career girl.
Thirdly, a sure fire way to be successful as a career girl is to go the extra mile. Do the things that other people won't do, put the extra time in: stay late, arrive early, commit yourself in ways that other people won't. I'm not talking about going to the extreme where work takes over - remember, this whole post is for the average, everyday female with an everyday job. Going the extra mile makes you stand out from the crowd, you'll take more ground than your competitors and you're positioning yourself as someone who's worthy of furthering their career.
It's all about the positive attitude that comes with firstly having goals, positioning yourself to achieve them and doing all of the little things listed above. Goal posts should be small, regular, and easy to achieve - bitesize even. Otherwise you'll end up with a pipe dream that's missing its pipes.
But remember, if you're in a job or in a career and you want to progressive, to do better, to be better - then you're already a career girl. These steps will just help you become a bigger success than you already are.