(This article written by Ashraf Chaudhry has been published in leading newspaper of Pakistan “Dawn” on July 21, 2009.)

It is great to have options in life. Sometimes, life gives you at platter. But most of the times, it is your core responsibility to create options to grow, expand and rise. Career is one such thing that you cannot risk leaving at the mercy of life.
You need to file a flight plan for your career journey and create a road map to get you the desired results. In the absence of your carefully conceived career plan, your life will be just like flotsam and jetsam at the mercy of vagaries of weather.

While making any career move, following points must be taken into account.
1. Pick a boss, not a job:
Probably, boss is the most important factor in success or failure of your career. If your boss is feeling insecure, your capacity building is at stake. A boss who is skeptical of your capabilities would not allow you to take up new challenges and make new experiments. An easy going boss will make you impotent as you will not avail opportunities to stretch yourself beyond comfy confines.
2. Reconnaissance on the organization:
Before making a career move, one must thoroughly do research on the organization. Does it treat its employees as “potential” or “resource”? Potential is to be tapped while resources are to be consumed.
3. Align your passion with profession:
Unless you passionately enjoy what you are doing, sustainable success will remain an illusion. If you find passion in Marketing and work for Finance which you take as drudgery, chances are you will soon be at war with yourself. Nobody could ever win war against oneself.
4. Erect your second line of defense:
Apart from your primary passion/profession, always find avenues to create your second line of defense. If due to external factors, your primary career becomes redundant, you must have something to fall back upon. So, plan B must be in place all the time. Keep some of your eggs in another basket.
5. Be bold:
Fortune favors the bold and brave only. Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken changed his career at the age of 66 from being a loser salesman to becoming an extremely successful entrepreneur.
Career is just like a baby. You need to have a plan for its feeding, nurturing and nourishing and grooming before it pays back.
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