Do you see a clear career path within your current organization? Career pathing is a plan you make with your supervisor/employer that charts your path and future development within the organization. It should include goals/objectives you need to reach, experience you need to gain, and skills you should learn to reach the next stage in your career. These can be promotions or lateral moves, depending on your unique goals. 

Sometimes these plans are developed as a company-wide initiative for every position. Other times it is a one-on-one conversation between employee and supervisor. If you do not currently have a clear career path, consider having that conversation with your boss. Share your goals and ambitions and together you can develop a plan to get you to the next level.   

Many times, employees find themselves in an organization that doesn’t work with you in creating a clear plan for the future. Don’t be discouraged. A career path can be created on your own to take charge of your future. Even in a supportive organization, career pathing could go beyond your current workplace if you feel there are goals you’d like to achieve that aren’t available to you now.  

Take the time to consider whether your full career path works within your current organization. You owe it to yourself to look within your current organization first. However, if you determine in time that those opportunities don’t exist in the future, don’t let that hold you back. Perhaps you have goals or other work-life needs that would be better achieved elsewhere. It’s up to you to decide what you want your future to look like.  

Consider these questions: 

What are your goals?

Think short-term and long-term when you set these goals. Like Stephen Covey says, “start with the end in mind”. This path should include where you’d like to ultimately end up. Maybe you dream of being a CEO, managing a chain of retail locations, becoming self-employed so you can be your own boss, or any other dream you may have. But think seriously about what it will take to reach that goal and what milestones you must reach to get there. What more immediate goals do you need to reach to make that first milestone?


have you mapped out your plan with your boss/employer?

Even if your employer doesn’t have a career path for each and every position, you can be the catalyst to make that happen. Ask to sit down with your supervisor to find out what skills, training, and experience you need to gain that will put you in a position to land that next role/promotion within the company. You will be glad you took the initiative, and your boss will appreciate that you want to grow and add value to the organization.


what support system do you have in place?

Identify who is in your corner. Share your plan with your spouse or another close colleague/friend/family member whose opinion you trust. There is likely someone in your organization that has the skills you want to learn or knows what steps you need to take in order to advance. Ask if they are willing to teach you a new process. You may even gain a valuable mentor. The support of people you trust can go a long way toward achieving your goals.

Answering these questions can help you outline your plan and determine the steps you need to take in order to advance and grow your career.