As it’s mid-year review time, I’m reflecting not only on my performance over the last few months but also on my career plan and where I go from here. I’m reflecting on what has worked and not worked for me so far.
In 2013, the team I worked with was disbanded. This was a big change for me. I had to travel an extra couple of hours each day and, despite moving to a similar job, had to re-train and study for a qualification – Counter Fraud Specialist Accreditation at the University of Portsmouth. It was overwhelming at the time, but I was delighted to complete my training programme a little ahead of schedule. This was a great confidence boost and, after 23 years being happy at my officer grade, I realised that it had awakened my interest in a 'career'.
I applied for and was successful in obtaining a place on a Civil Service talent programme – the Positive Action Pathway. This provided a structure for my development and opened opportunities for me to meet people from other government departments and to partner on project work.
When I was promoted to HO (HEO grade), this consolidated my new skills and continued to boost my confidence. I learnt that what had actually held my career back were my own self-limiting beliefs, and I was guided by an excellent book that I highly recommend – ‘Feel the fear - and do it anyway!’, by Susan Jeffers.
While on the positive action programme, I started to work on a personal development plan. Using Civil Service Learning’s online tool to set specific targets and timelines brought focus and helped me and my manager to visualise my progress. This included external reading and research, cross-departmental workshops and feedback sessions, and targeted in-work activities, including working alongside senior leaders.
Coaching and mentoring
An important part of my development plan was to get a coach and a mentor, serving two very different needs but both really worth the time invested. My coach provided specific learning in regard to management styles, and my mentor was there for support in overcoming personal barriers.
As the 12-month formal programme came to a close in March 2015, I ‘had a word with myself’ and decided that I would strive to keep developing. I did this by offering to coach others in understanding and using the competency framework. This expanded my coaching skills and empowered others to make the best of themselves in their reviews and job applications.
In recent days, I have gained temporary promotion to SO (SEO grade) and am looking forward to a new and rewarding role. I’m taking the opportunity to build my capability at this level to make me the best candidate I can be for a permanent role.
So my advice to others when it comes to your development is – feel the fear, and do it anyway. Who knows where it may lead you?
...and, the 2015 Pathway for EOs is now open. Click here for more details about the Pathway programme and to apply.