The traffic light symbol is increasingly been used outside of the field of road traffic: for example, to assess status of projects. This symbol can also be a useful guide for managing your career as follows:-
Red: This means red-flag. This is a warning sign that could have negative consequences if ignored. Red-flags include: putting your career advancement in someone elseâ€™s hands, not investing in yourself, fighting with your boss, confusing your job with your career, not updating your skills, and â€˜thrashingâ€™ your employer, among others.
Red can also mean â€˜stopâ€™. These can be making money the most important factor in career decisions, making choices for benefits you can get â€˜nowâ€™, just sticking with whatâ€™s familiar, or always pursuing othersâ€™ definition of success.
Amber: Amber is being in a constant state of preparation. The time to get ready and stay ready for the big breaks or setting new goals for yourself. Amber time is when you do what you need to improve where you donâ€™t measure up. You learn what you need to learn to increase your success and identify where you need to persist. Amber time is also when you ask yourself some hard questions like: is where I am headed really where I wish to go? Is my current job taking me in a positive career direction? Am I deploying my strongest skills in what I am doing now?
Green: Green is cruising time, when you are playing roles that you enjoy and draw on your strongest skills. But just as the traffic lights donâ€™t stay green forever, you never know when you are going to hit a bump or a red sign. So use the green period to increase your momentum, grow important professional and relationships.
Remember that whether you can cruise or not, when the lights go green depends on the condition of your â€˜career carâ€™ which include a strong skills set, a positive mind-set/attitude, a good reputation, and lot of good will from others.
Now take action: Do a traffic lights assessment of the status of your career now.