# Second Law of Career Development: The Forces On Your Career?

Feb 09, 2011

Newton’s Second Law of Motion states that the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force acting on it and inversely proportional to its mass.

The net force, the sum of all of the forces from all directions acting on the object, determines the speed and direction of the accelerating mass. The net force is ultimately a single push in a single direction determined by adding and subtracting all of the forces.  For example, two equal forces from opposite directions acting on an object has a net force of zero and so the object stays where it is or on its current path.  On the other hand two equal forces acting in the same direction push the object forward at twice the speed of a single force.

How does this concept apply to your career development?

### The Second Law of Career Development

Your career will continue to be subject to outside forces until YOU understand them and how YOU choose to respond so as to speed up and/or change the direction of your career development.

Consider, to begin with, all of the different forces acting on your current career development.  You are currently on a path that was determined by any number of these and other forces in your life:

• Parents’ wishes
• Schools attended
• Coursework
• Work Experience
• Economic environment
• Location
• Family
• Debt
• Habits
• Knowledge
• Personal Drive

Now consider what direction are these forces (and others you can think of) directing your career?  Are they heading you in the right direction? Are these forces providing a headwind or a tailwind for your career, thereby slowing or speeding your career development?  The effect of many of these forces on your career is actually up to you and how you chose to interpret them. For example, you could choose to feel like there is little you can do during a slow economy, or you can choose other ways to respond, such as considering what you can learn to position yourself better for success regardless of the economic conditions.  What other skills can you learn?

Not matter what other forces you feel are acting on you, preventing you from living to your full potential, there are ways can respond and harness these forces to your benefit. You can make these forces work for you, effectively riding them to success. Working with a mentor or coach who can help you see these possibilities and develop the skills you need to take advantage of them is one key to putting the Second Law of Career Development to work for you.

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