What’s Next for Me and My Career?

Man with tie in front of stairs buttoning suit jacket

So, you’ve been in your initial supervisory position for a reasonable amount of time to show everyone interested your blossoming leadership mojo. You think you finally have a handle on what is expected of you in the job, despite the natural bumps along the road as you initially took over and discovered what being a “leader” means.

With time, you have come to feel that both you and your division are finally on the right path, doing good things for the company. Yes, the hours have been longer, much more is expected of you, and the occasional closed-door sessions with your boss trying to explain why things haven’t gone as planned weren’t very fun, but the positives of being in charge have outweighed all the negatives.

You think you finally have a handle on what is expected of you in the job, despite the natural bumps along the road as you initially took over and discovered what being a “leader” means.

Or maybe everything about being a supervisor so far has been negative, you hate your job and being in charge, and you’re really tired of taking the heat every time something goes wrong.

However you feel, it’s totally natural to start considering (or questioning) what’s next for you.

Man looking at Apple watch

In the SEALs, there is a mid-career decision that every junior officer has to make about his future in the Teams, and ultimately, the Navy. It happens around the 6-9 year mark when an officer is a Lieutenant, and usually as they are completing their Platoon Commander assignment. It can be a tough call for some because, in reality, an officer only has two options to choose from:

  1. Decide to stay in and make the Navy a career, and hope to be selected for career-enhancing assignments as an Operations Officer, then an Executive Officer, and ultimately a Commanding Officer. All these billets involve increased responsibility/authority and the opportunity to continue to lead larger numbers of special operators, but they also are considered paper-pushing administrative jobs, where you get to excel as an “email warrior.” Yes, every SEAL officer has to maintain his parachuting/diving/demolitions qualifications throughout his career, but after being in charge of an operational SEAL platoon, those “running and gunning” opportunities that an officer dreams of during Hell Week become few and far between as they become older and more senior in rank.
  2. Decide to get out of the Navy, and take their talents into the civilian world, where the employment opportunities (and pay) are much greater.

Always remember that being a leader isn’t for everyone, and if you recognize that you won’t be able to handle the increased responsibilities associated with higher positions of authority, the better it is for everyone involved if you step aside.

Person making a list of pros and cons

Coach’s tip(s) for the month: If (and when) you hit that mid-career leadership decision point in your life, I recommend:

– Sitting down and listing all the pros/cons of moving on or out.

– Discuss your options with your family, co-workers, mentors, etc.

– Make the decision that feels right for you.

– Attack what’s next……..and NEVER LOOK BACK!

Always remember that being a leader isn’t for everyone, and if you recognize that you won’t be able to handle the increased responsibilities associated with higher positions of authority, the better it is for everyone involved if you step aside.  It’ll be ok because leaders need good followers also!

That’s it for this month! See you all in May!

About John Havlik

CAPT John “Coach” Havlik, U.S. Navy SEAL (Retired), led special operations teams around the world during his 31-year naval career, to include the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the SEAL’s most elite operational unit. CAPT Havlik was a nationally-ranked swimmer, and is a member of the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame and Mountaineer Legends Society. @CoachHavlik www.CoachHavlik.com

What People Are Saying

There are no comments yet – why not be the first to leave a comment?

Leave a Comment