Where Am I? Awareness and Navigating Your Career Path


Have you ever gotten lost at the mall and had to refer to one of the big location maps posted throughout the building?

No matter where you’re standing in the mall, there is a spot on the map that says, “You Are Here.” This big dot helps you determine your location and navigate to where you need to go.

Recently, James Citrin, a business expert, co-chair of the North American Board, and CEO of Practice at Spencer Stuart, published an article that surveyed thousands of business professionals regarding the different phases that occur throughout a career. Citrin breaks up the standard professional career into three phases:

The Promise Phase — The first 5-7 years of a career, where your value is primarily determined by your natural talents, your intellect, your ability to work in teams, your ambition, and your general enthusiasm. You are judged on your POTENTIAL.

The Momentum Phase — With more years of real-world experience (7+ years),  your success is determined less and less by your potential and more and more by the actual experience and expertise that you develop. Your value is based upon your track record and what you can bring to the table for your business. You are judged by PAST EXPERIENCE and IMMEDIATE POTENTIAL.

The Harvest Phase — Later in your career, usually between the ages of 45 and 55, your career may diverge. At this point, you will evolve with new skills or fade by relying solely upon your past experiences. People that evolve will return to the Momentum Phase. Those who can’t evolve must retire or risk disappearing professionally. You are judged by PAST EXPERIENCE and your ABILITY TO ADAPT AND GROW.

The lesson that surrounds all of these phases lies in being aware of where you are at any point in your career. Once you’re able to establish these personal and professional reference points, you’ll be better equipped to make the right decisions for your continued career success.