The Company of Self: A Career Development Org Chart

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with all the professional and personal elements that contribute toward one’s career progression. When Lee Kushner and I were preparing to present a workshop on this topic, Lee shared with me his framework for making sense the various aspects of career development. With his permission, I’d like to describe this approach below.

Consider yourself the CEO of the company of self. This means leading the various departments that make the organization strive. In the context of managing one’s own career, each of these departments has a role to play:

  • Product Development: Treat your technical, business and communication skills as a “product” that you need to carefully manage for features.
  • Sales and Marketing: Market your expertise to the outside world though your resume, interview, on-line presence, personal networking, etc.
  • R&D and Reinvestment: Your “product,” like most other products on the market, requires an initial investment and continued upkeep to remain competitive.
  • Finance: You need to understand your compensation goals and your monthly expenses; you also need to have a strategy for negotiating your compensation.
  • Human Resources: Making sure that your ethics and work-life balance are in line with your expectations; also consider the extent to which you may need to sacrifice some personal and professional elements to progress in your career.

You can view Lee’s career development organizational chart below.

One way to use this org chart is to examine your current state to assess which of your “departments” are missing, incomplete or may require additional attention.

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About the Author

Lenny Zeltser develops products and programs that use security to achieve business results. He is the CISO at Axonius and Faculty Fellow at SANS Institute. Lenny has been leading efforts to establish resilient security practices and solve hard security problems for over two decades. A respected author and practitioner, he has been advancing tradecraft and contributing to the community. His insights build upon real-world experience, a Computer Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA degree from MIT Sloan.

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