I have seen countless top performers fail to maximise their career potential simply because they forever believe that the Human Resource (HR) Department will take care of their career. In theory Yes. It is true that the HR Department is charged with the responsibility to manage all staff matters, including career plans, promotions, placements and so on.
However, the reality in practice is different. Winners are the staff that take control of their personal HR affairs. Are you one of these people? By the end of this piece, you will be charged and equipped to join this league of career super achievers.
A long-term view on career is simple. Your average earnings over your entire career determine, to some degree, how much potential you will have had to save and invest for a decent retirement. Your pension pot at Nico Life Insurance Company, Old Mutual Malawi or other pension fund that your organisation uses is directly proportional to your earnings. The company takes five percent of your salary and adds another 10 or 15 percent of your salary from their budget and put that money in your pension pot. Therefore, the more you earn, the more your pension pot grows over time.
Additionally, if you earn more, you have extra cash to save, to invest in housing, business or other investment vehicles. We are not even talking of the immediate benefits of maximising your earnings like ability to send your kids to good schools, helping family and extended relations and living a more decent life.
If you have potential to earn K100, why should you be earning only K25? This is the discussion I had with my brother five years ago and within two years, he was able to make two major career moves that increased his earnings nearly four times. I had a long discussion about the picture of his life after retirement, even though he was in the early 30s. He made a drastic change after challenging his comfort zone and he never looked back. Several other people have benefitted from this basic but powerful wake up call. You can become one too today!
There are many sides to this thinking. Today, we will focus on the area of managing your career. Do not outsource the management of your career to your HR team. If they do a good job managing your career, praise the Lord. If they do not, then pray and work on it. Either way, you need to be in control of the direction and pace of your career movement.
Basically, determine where you are and where you want to be in three years, five years, 10 years and at time of retirement. That gives you a good road map. Do not make the mistake that many make of jumping from one organisation to another too quickly and too often. Only jump when necessary and when it makes lots of sense. Build today, the skills that will help you get a more rewarding job tomorrow. Focus on delivery and make sure that you are one of the most outstanding performers in your team, department and company.
With the great performance, attitude, communication and visibility, you should then be in a position to command a decent earning. If that earning does not come by, you have the legitimate grounds to have a professional and candid discussion with your line manager and HR about adjusting your pay. But patience is a big part of this. You need to demonstrate these attributes over a good length of time before you can begin to engage. Premature engagement can backfire and may even earn you negative results.
If engagement over a long period does not work, then the next logical step to take is to look for jobs outside your current organisation. You cannot sweat for long while earning half or less of your potential earnings. Of course, we are assuming all factors equal because there could be other constraints and limitations like family considerations, health, your passions and so on.
Good luck as you take charge of the HR aspects of your career. This way, you will truly rise and shine!