Career development - the early years 

Very few people I meet today are still on the same career path they began when they left full-time education. They used to say there were three careers in us all. Nowadays it is more than five. A career for life is rare and this is ok. In fact, it is quite exciting.


Stage 1 – Exploration and self-discovery
(Pre 35) 

It makes sense that our career journey should evolve with us as from personal experience. I am nothing like my younger self in many aspects. There are, of course, some ingrained personality preferences, interests and habits that remain deeply embedded throughout our entire life and the first step in this self-discovery phase is starting to recognise these patterns.

Formative years

Now I look back at these formative years, already the following themes had emerged:

  • Love of reading.
  • Love of learning – I was the first to volunteer for any corporate training programmes.
  • I was already getting a reputation for being extremely organised and a good planner.
  • I always needed a challenge; I moved roles within and organisation every 18 months to a more senior role or sometimes to a different department to add breadth of experience and perspective.
  • Some career moves were not right for me (in that I did not enjoy the type of work) however this was good to find out. Finding out what you do not like is equally important to what you do like.
  • I loved working with high energy inspiring people, especially leaders.
  • I was learning how to train others and facilitate meetings/project teams.
  • I loved process management and improvements.

Hopefully, the above list has given you some ideas on creating your own regardless of what stage you are at in your career. Cataloguing what is important to you is important for future career choices.

Self-awareness for proactive career management

Effectively and proactively managing your career begins with this self-awareness piece. Now expand your list by answering the following questions

What gives me energy and makes me feel good? These could be activities, people, environments, situations, or topics. They might cross over with the earlier list; that is ok.

What zaps me of energy and demotivates me?

Some more personal examples to get you thinking are:

Energy enhancers for me

  • People who have interesting stories about goal accomplishment, building businesses, adventures or overcoming challenges inspire me.
  • Bit weird but I love process improvement projects and watching a team make massive efficiency/customer experience gains.
  • I love vibrant high quality, modern cafes, and co-working spaces – I am most productive in this type of environment.

Energy zappers for me

  • A lot of data, long documents, massive spreadsheets (why I got out of accountancy analytical roles).
  • People who blame others or situations all the time.
  • Drab uncared for environments.

In conclusion, this initial phase of your career development is about understanding yourself in a lot of detail so the correct job moves can be mapped on top of this knowledge.

Even if you are not in this phase of your career journey it does not matter this self-exploration work can begin at any stage. It is also important to update as you progress through the stages. For example the type of role I wanted to do in my thirty’s is not what I want to do now much later in my career it needs to evolve with you and serve you.

As always if you need any support, please contact me.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bristol, Gloucestershire, BS16 7FR
Written by Sandra Webber
Bristol, Gloucestershire, BS16 7FR

Sandra is an qualified coach and author who works with both businesses and private clients. With over 20 years of experience she is also co-director of The Kudos Group a Training and Development company who focus on Executive Coaching/Mentoring/Leadership and Sales Team Development. Working across all sectors she loves supporting leaders.

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