Where is my safety career going? What are my options? What am I doing to prepare myself for the next opportunity? Will I be able to compete? Do I have the necessary knowledge and skills? What makes a difference in pay? Do I have a plan or strategy?

A generation ago, most people graduating from college and entering a profession looked for a large company employer and relied on their employer to manage opportunities for advancement. More likely than not, the new employee stayed with the first employer until retirement.

That scenario is not very common today. With companies buying and selling other companies or business units, there are interruptions in careers. The global economy has changed how businesses work. Some have estimated that someone graduating from college today will change careers, not just employers, several times.

Most people in the safety profession enjoy their work. Multiple surveys of safety professionals identify a 90 to 95% job satisfaction level. However, the world of safety practice is changing and one must be prepared for change and be able to adapt to change.

In this session, we want to explore the issue of career progress, how to prepare for opportunities and how to manage change in practice.

What Are Your Goals?

In any profession, one must decide what direction to take. Part of the decision is based on what kind of work you are good at and what kind of work you like. Some prefer technical aspects of their profession. Some are good at projects and like planning, organizing and executing activities. Some prefer routine work and avoid change. Some like interaction and communication with others. Some like to analyze problems and issues and recommend solutions. Some like to teach. Some like to manage, direct and guide others.

Where do you want to go next? Where do you think the best opportunities for advancement and challenge lie for you? One of the first things you need to do is define short term goals and long term goals for yourself. You must consider whether you will have to travel and whether you may need to move or move frequently. Geographic location may be important. You must consider your family and your life interests outside of work. You may need to consider your options, given that a spouse also wants to advance in a career.

Regardless, you must be prepared for change. Change may be within your control or be defined by others. Being prepared is essential.

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