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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

3 Research-Backed Career Trends to Embrace in 2015

There’s a change happening in the career realm, and it’s a good one. More people are getting it. They are embracing the fact that their futures, careers, and development paths are fully in their domain to manage, nurture, and grow. I hope you are one of them!

In the past, people often looked to employers to provide such opportunity for growth—but that’s quickly becoming a distant object in the rear view career mirror.

A recent study confirms that as employees, there’s a newfound sense of independence around career matters. When you realize your career and all of its rewards and dilemmas belong with you—and not your employer—the more empowered you’ll become.

Here are the big takeaways you can use to plan your career moves in 2015.

1. You Have More Control Over Your Next Career Move Than Anyone. Own It.

Are you thinking it’s up to your manager to plot your next promotion or career move? It’s not. Nearly 70% of people believe the person with the most influence in their careers is him- or herself.

If you’re aiming for a move up in 2015, don’t wait for your supervisor or your organization to roll out the plan for you. Don’t assume your manager knows your development or career expansion goals or is thinking about how he or she can help you achieve them. Those are your responsibilities.

First, determine what is it that you want to do next in terms of your career. Then, put together a plan that will allow those things to become reality. If your manager can help or provide resources, great; let him or her know. If not, find ways to develop those opportunities yourself.

2. Promotions Look Different These Days. Prepare Accordingly.

It used to be that there was a pretty straightforward career ladder. You started at the bottom and climbed rung-by-rung to get to the top. That’s certainly not the case anymore.

Primarily, not every career move and major development opportunity has to be an upward maneuver. Instead, it might be volunteering for a project that will give you visibility to the executive team, taking an assignment to work on a new business acquisition, or building your client-facing skills by stepping up to manage the relationship with a notoriously difficult client. Nearly a third of professionals see this as the path for advancing their career, rather than a traditional move up a vertical ladder.

Look around. Based on your career path plan, what are some plum experiences you’d like to be considered for in the next year? When you’ve got that clear, plan a conversation with your boss to figure out how you can make the idea a reality.

3. Managers Aren’t Perfect, But They Don’t Make You Leave (as Much as They Used To)

Much research has traditionally pinned the desire to leave a job on bad managers. But that’s a view that’s also fading. Research shows that over 75% of professionals say the manager doesn’t have that much influence.

It could be that an improving job market in the U.S. is to credit for that. After all, when you feel like you have the power to make a move and find a new job (and that you’ll have more choice if you do leave), the boss may become less of a culprit.

Or it could be that once you begin to see your career as your responsibility, you’ll be less likely to point the finger toward a bad manager.

It’s still good practice, however, to learn how to effectively work with a difficult supervisor—the experience sure can teach you a lot. If you have a less than perfect leader, commit to pushing back, setting clear boundaries, and being assertive for what you need. You’ll be amazed at how learning these skills can build your confidence—and further your career.

Even if a bad manager isn’t the reason you want to leave a job, the better you can manage this relationship, the better off you’ll be when you do leave.

A new year is a great reason to pause and think about what your career intentions are. Step back from the autopilot and put your own career in gear. Asking good questions about what you want to accomplish next and making a plan to do that will do wonders for your career in 2015.

Photo of steps courtesy of Shutterstock.