Where will you be in your career within the next five years? 10 years? 15 years?
In short, what kind of career track are you on?
These are hefty questions when you consider that most of us who fall into this industry fall in love with it, too.
It’s easy to get entangled with the logistics of the daily grind and the meeting industry can be a fickle mistress when it comes to career moves. There aren’t a lot of such options, but the good news is that there are more than you think.
Consider these paths.
Stay put at the same career level.
Some people realize that they are really good at planning meetings/events and sincerely desire to not do anything different. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As we all have likely dealt with a boss-zilla in our lifetimes, some people are good at what they do but aren’t cut out of management cloth. No problem. If you are happy in the job function, then there are some options in this arena so you feel revitalized/challenged in your work. The first step is to add to your body of knowledge. Growing your knowledge base can help you move into step two, which is expanding your job duties. (The MPI Academy and PYM LIVE offer a bevy of opportunities to help you grow professionally.)
Move up and out.
Still feel like you aren’t able to stretch your wings at your current employer? Then you might need to consider changing employers.
For the folks who are career-minded and see a management trajectory in their future, then building the stepping stones of being a capable manager are critical. Do you know how to manage people, resources, budgets and strategies? This can open doors to being a VP of meetings or a similar leadership position. Remember, you need to tell others of your career aspirations and not just assume that they know.
If not this, then what?
You love the industry, and the industry loves you back. But sometimes, you simply get burned out and need something else. So how do you translate this amazing career of meeting/event management wins into something else altogether different? I have a simple answer for you: Operations. Yes. You saw that right. Operations. The reason is that everything you do as a planner is all about keeping things running smoothly. And guess what? That’s what operations managers too. They oversee financial, marketing, sales, programs, deadlines and personnel, to name a few areas. So this can be an easy leap to make.
None of the above.
Going for the full-scale, “I can’t take this anymore” career revamp? Career coaches are a way to go. Believe it or not, meeting planners end up with a Swiss Army knife of skill sets that can go in many directions. A career coach can help you find a new direction that provides that injection of fresh energy, optimism and renewed purpose that many burned-out professionals crave.
So keep an eye on the prize—be clear on what your next career goals are, and cultivate the skills that can lead to either renewed passion for your current work or help you find rewarding new opportunities.