How to Assess Your Career – Identifying your Roles and Goals for each Career Stage Pt 2

Do you know which roles are expected of you in your current job? Have you figured out what your goals should be in your career stage? Are you prepared for your next job or career move? Are you planning on becoming an entrepreneur, do you know how to validate your business idea, fund your business, and build it?

Assessing your career

As a worker, you must be proactive in your career and self-development. You can start by answering the following questions:

  • Where are you now? Which career stage are you at?
  • What roles are expected of you in your current job?
  • What goals should you strive for at each stage of your career?
  • How can you set the course of your career accordingly?
  • How can you excel in your current job while preparing for your next career stage?

Using the “Smart Lemming Guide to Career Development,” you’ll understand the typical roles and goals at each career stage, so you can assess you skill set and knowledge areas. You can use this self awareness to customize your personal Smart Lemming curriculum for career success.

What are the roles and goals at each career stage?

Over the course of my career, I discovered seven discrete career stages ranging from New Knowledge Worker (KW) to Entrepreneur. When I was a Senior Product Manager, I committed to my own career development by understanding by mastering the elements in the following areas of focus, attributes, roles, and goals.


  • Career and Self-Development skills
  • Personal branding
  • Next career milestone
  • Integrating company values
  • Becoming a candidate for promotion
  • Being an established team player
  • Demonstrate management skills
  • Demonstrate leadership skills
  • Being an expert in job class
  • Committing to company goals and objectives
  • Entrepreneurial, thinking beyond bureaucracy



  • Self Management
  • Work Ethics and Values
  • Vision
  • Confidence
  • Ability to take risks
  • Drive and energy
  • Self-awareness and criticism
  • Initiative
  • Values
  • Self-promotion
  • Visibility



  • Accountability
  • Thought leader
  • Team member
  • Team leader
  • Project management
  • Product manager
  • Senior knowledge worker
  • Department head
  • Entrepreneur
  • Director level position
  • Exceed job requirements


How are roles and goals used? How can they make a difference?

  • New knowledge workers: Can understand what typical roles and goals they will play in their new job at the beginning of their career.
  • Advanced KWs:  Build on their experience from their initial experience as a New KW, how to excel in their current roles, and acquire skills and knowledge for their next career stage.
  • Intermediate KWs: Demonstrate leadership, management, and other business skills abilities; prepare for next career stage.
  • Senior KWs: Build on leadership, management, and business skills from previous career stage; determine if advancing to the next career is stage is a personal goal. If so, then prepare for director level.
  • Directors: Grow sphere of influence, continue development leadership, management, and business skills from previous career stage; and determine if entrepreneurship, startup position, or C-level position is a personal goal. If so, then prepare for VP level.
  • VPs: Master leadership, management, and business skills from previous career stage; and determine if entrepreneurship, startup position, Sr. VP, or CEO is a personal goal. If so, then prepare for goal.
  • Entrepreneurs: Understand the challenges facing entrepreneurs; and learn the fundamentals of small business and startups.

Roles and Goals by Career Stage Part 1

The above table list a product manager role as an example. You can easily think through your own career track in customer service, sales, or any other job function.  Regardless, you’ll still encounter all other roles across the seven career stages.

How can you benefit from understanding your roles and goals?

Workers can target their career and self-development efforts business skills such as business communications skills and knowledge areas like sales and marketing, based on their existing role and goals.

For example, early in my marketing career, I determined that I needed to understand my role as a product marketing manager, so I could perform my job duties well. After growing in my role, I determined that I wanted to be a product management role. I studied how to write requirements and use cases.

Roles and Goals by Career Stage Part 2

Leverage opportunities for on the job growth

While learning the fundamentals of product management, I looked for opportunities to observe product managers in my current job. As a result, I learned key success factors for product managers. Was I successful? Yes, I became a product manager, which became the bedrock of my career.

What results can you achieve?

Fortunately, my curiosity and commitment to become a director and VP paid off. I achieved my career goals because I read key business books that helped me develop my core competencies in the following areas:

  • Understand career and self-development skills
  • Productivity and organization
  • Management
  • Marketing and sales
  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Small business and entrepreneurship
  • Work tools mastery

While your experience with the “Smart Lemming Guide to Career Development” will be different from mine, you can benefit from having breadth and depth in areas that are relevant to your career goals. You can become an expert in your existing job by learning how to plan for your next job and career stage. All you have to do is know where to start by assessing your career stage while also identifying your roles and goals.

You’ll be prepared for your journey, whether it’s a promotion up the career ladder or move into entrepreneurship.

In this series, I will help you through each of these career development phases, so you can create a shortcut to your career success. Click here for previous entries.