Own Your Career: Intentional Professional Development

July 2024 | By Kelly Therrien

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of giving an invited talk at the Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) Network Conference in Houston, TX. I knew it would be a great opportunity to engage with OBM professionals and researchers on a challenge that everyone shares right now: facing the inevitability of change, particularly career change.

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We took some time to consider how the concept of a “career” has changed over the past several decades. The technology and reskilling trends that have made direct careers less common have also caused workers and organizations to approach individual jobs as more short- than long-term engagements. Likewise, job creation favors new and emerging occupations while demanding skills that earlier generations could not imagine.  

It came as no surprise to realize that we may all expect, or be expected, to have several jobs across our lives.  

However, I hope it was a bit of a surprise – or lightbulb moment – when I encouraged everyone to consider whether these trends might find us leaving our careers up to chance at the whim of these changes. 

Such reflection has been a common theme in recent discussions. My role as Director of Talent Management means that I get to interact with people within and outside of ALULA about all sorts of critical career moments defined by job searching and role shifts, pivoting and promotions, known and stretch projects, personal and professional milestones, and everything else that impacts an individual’s own world of work. 

One thing is clear: People want to know how to prepare for the inevitability of career change in a way that deepens rather than drains their resilience, expertise, and determination. 

That’s why I made how the focus of my talk. I explored how conference participants could leverage their behavioral science skills to approach intentional professional development in a way that truly aligns with their values-based goals. To ensure that this approach was actionable rather than simply advisory, I developed ASPIRESM, a tool that breaks the process down into 6 steps. 
 
The best part about presenting ASPIRE was the feeling that everyone in the conference room was with me. Even with the lighting partially blocking my peripheral view, I could hear people flipping through their ASPIRE booklets and starting to write in them.  
 
Mission accomplished? Almost! I am still eager to learn how people experience the iterative nature of ASPIRE to tackle either short-term wins or long-term dreams with greater confidence, readiness, care, and tenacity. Many of us spend 1/3 of our lives (approximately 100,000 hours) working, so we have an incredible opportunity to approach our time and energy investment from a holistic, values-based vantage point.  

Ready to use ASPIRE for your own intentional professional development?  

The digital edition of ASPIRE is ready to help anyone get in the driver’s seat of their career. Test drives are encouraged! Share the tool with colleagues and teammates to track journeys together. When it comes to intentional professional development, we have so much to learn from one another. 

I welcome your feedback about using ASPIRE in the comments, especially if you’re willing to say which value will shape the opportunities you pursue next.

Topics: Behavior, Leadership, Professional Development

Kelly Therrien

Written by Kelly Therrien