Developing your career-Are all of the pieces in place?

If you have not figured this out already, I tend to think of things from an analogous perspective.  Some of the relationships I draw may not make sense to everyone, but for me, analogies seem to explain how things in one world may relate to things in another.

Today’s post will be another in a series of analogies from the mind of Dan Ryan.  Previous posts have included other analogous relationships I see.  I hope this one makes sense to you as well.

Developing your career can be very similar to developing a piece of property.  Let me give some of the key points in the development space and then show how these relate to your own career:

  • Project concept-Just what to you want to build, where do you want to build it and what is the time frame?
  • Once the concept is agreed upon, how will this be funded?  Funding is not only in dollars and cents, but also takes time and other investments such as relationships and experience.
  • After funding is in place, the location must be acquired.  For a building development the location will depend upon the type of development and the cost of the site when compared with the budget.  Not every budget will allow the purchase of the most prized sites.  Also, some sites are better suited for one type of development versus another.
  • Design will begin after the site is secured.  This will include the site and also the type of structure.  As a good friend once told me, the dirt guys control everything and if the site is not proper for the type of development you might just build your project on a site that will not support your project.  Having a firm foundation is essential for success.
  • Permits are essential.  You need to know the “rules of the road” for your project and not every location will have the proper zoning or interest in the project you may want to pursue.  Some projects may cause concern by the local inhabitants and knowing this up front can keep you from investing dollars into a site that makes no sense.
  • Construction may begin once the permits and the permissions have been given.  The season of the year will have an influence on the construction time and there are always external factors that either support or delay the best planned project.  Be sure to plan for contingencies in case you run out of resources before the project is complete.
  • Many types of expertise will be needed to build your development; some will be structural, some will be relating to internal systems and still others will be totally visual in nature.  Caution is required to not overspend in a category that doesn’t provide the best long term ROI for the project.
  • Once construction nears completion there will be inspections to be sure that the project is ready for usage and occupancy.  Ignoring these inspections may result in a project that looked great on paper, but that was not constructed according to plan or that is not safe for usage.  You also need to plan on change orders during construction.  You may have the best plans, but there will almost always be a change that crops up that raises the cost of completion.  Be sure to budget for this.
  • Every development has an end usage in mind and this will need to be marketed and communicated prior to completion.  Having an empty building at completion is not good.  You need to find a usage, some occupants, prior to completion so you can start to benefit once the project is complete.

Let’s take a look at how this compares to your own career.  If you are just now starting to make your plans for post secondary education, you need to first know what type of “project” or career you wish to pursue.  Many people choose the school first and this may be completely backward.  Some schools are the proper “location” for your project and others are not.  In addition, a four year degree may not be the best project for every career.  Some people may pursue a career that relies on in-depth training in a field or skill such as plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, technology or other areas.  While a four year degree may be a great goal, it is not the best goal for everyone’s career.

Once the “project” or career has been chosen and the “site” or educational provider has been agreed upon, you can begin “building” or learning the proper skills and knowledge.  As mentioned in the project list above, but sure to plan on changes and budgetary issues.  No matter how much you think the project will cost, the cost will rise, trust me.  Have a contingency plan in place in case things get into a pinch.

Many “projects” or careers require testing or certification before you can begin “occupancy” or work.  Know what the requirements are and understand what your options are if you do not get the proper approvals initially.  These things can and will happen.

Every project can be taken to completion with the right planning, resources and teamwork.

Your career is the same, but you need to fully develop the scope of your career or job first before you choose the “site” or provider.  Some sites can be very expensive and they may not be the right provider for the education or training you seek.  Be very sure of what your provider can and cannot do before beginning construction.  One of the worst-case scenarios is having to change sites because you have chosen the wrong location.

I hope this analogy has helped you see how starting your career is very similar to a development and construction project.  I’ll be back soon with a similar post on how you might “remodel” your career if the present structure no longer meets your needs.