Career Trajectory, written by Nick Roud. Executive Coach at Roud Career Coaching

by | Jun 10, 2019

life is not a rehearsal, you only get one chance so enjoy it, my dad (advice given to me at the age of 9)

Good morning to you and thanks for taking the time to read my blog today, I hope it inspires you to improve, take control and be the very best you can be.

Couple of quick questions to kick off todays 2500+ blog.

How do you put plans in place in a world that seems to be constantly changing, constantly advancing with technology?

What can I do as a professional to keep some form of “control”?

Career Trajectory Plan.

Who of us remembers running around in our back yard just running free, running around with our mates, climbing trees, eating mud and having not a care in the world! Come on we all remember that, the fresh air the calmness, the anticipation around where our next fall will come as we climb hirer up that tree, you know the one that one….the one mum keeps telling us not to climb! You only stop climbing when your mate falls out and breaks his arm……..(another story….)

Who of us would ever have known – or indeed put any time into thinking about our “career” or what we would be doing in the future. The whole focus then would be just holding on for dear life, holding onto that branch to see what the view could be if we went just that little bit higher – if we just pushed ourselves into that place called “uncomfortableness” (not sure if that’s the right world but oh well, it’s my blog!!) how would we feel? Does this at all resinate in ones career journey?

Today my blog is focusing on our own career trajectory – flash word hey but as we develop thru our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond is it that our focus changes as we “mature”!

Having created a bespoke tool for many of my clients at Roud Career Coaching to work on and spend time actually doing has been so powerful for many. Having this bespoke tool to focus the mind and allow for changes to occur will I am sure help you on your journey. Sometimes fate will play a part – sometimes you will need to step backwards in order to progress but as you go about creating your very own career trajectory plan please keep one eye out for your future and the rest will take care of itself.

Over the years I have worked with many individuals in my coaching practice around their own career plan, Nick what might I be doing when I turn 50? Should I be learning now for the future? What if I get made redundant etc……working with me all starts with putting pen to paper, it starts with being very clear on the past, the now and your future options/expectations.

To jump to the end of this blog we are simply creating a one pager a helicopter view on your mini 10 year plans from your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. It is a powerful tool that clients will review annually and course correct or push on with if that is the decision.

The feedback I receive from clients typically goes, “Nick I wished I had done this years ago!

a goal without action is just that a goal Nick Roud, Executive Coach

No “apps” around here to help these guys! Just hard work and a smile.

No “apps” around here to help these guys! Just hard work and a smile.

If we skip back a couple of generations, for argument sake lets take a look at our grandparents (for ref I am 44), many may well have not even gone to school, many may not have been able to read or write, many would have been hugely blessed with god dam determination to work as hard as they could to ensure their families were looked after. Starting from a young age many would be out working, up before the sun rose and home after sunset.

Many like my grandparents would not even smell fresh air, they would have been miles down the pit digging for coal. From this stand point in our modern age of “technology” how many of us can simple dig a hole without getting out of breath!

To young men and women they would be working with there hands, digging holes, working on the rail, working on the roads etc.

There would be no “home deliver” no “siri – can you turn my heating on in 20mins” everything by all accounts would have taken that little bit more longer and what is wrong with that, why do we rush?

How many of us reading this blog today are battling with the common syndrome of “I dont have enough time Nick or I am so busy Nick” are these just words, I thought having all these apps / with such advances in great technology would enable us to have more time but clearly that is not the case as I get to see with so many clients. There is no app for “Time” we all get 24 hours each day!

If we move forwards to our parents generation (mine are now in their late 70s) it was very common to see and hear this saying “a job for life” you would typically go to school, many would leave at the age of 16 and head into your first job – this would typically be your lot. I remember having parents friends who were “bankers” they would have started in one of the local banks as a postie and slowly progressed up thru the ranks till they retired. My father was an electrician – he left school at 15, headed to do his apprentice with a wonderful man and then he started his own business – he ran this successfully till he retired. We had friends who were car mechanics, again they left school turned up at the local car garage and went to work, some again like my father set up on there own business, others remains loyal to the car company till they retired. Technology was starting to come into its infancy who remembers the “alarm-clock, coffee machine” I do, the smell of coffee would fill our home every morning!

Now to “my generation” wow, this could be a long one!!. So again a typical innings could have looked like this… head to school (pass some exams which enabled you to head to university where you would again pass some exams which would enable you to either 1) head to a firm of accountants, lawyers, doctors, etc or , head on an oversea experience (o/e) we had choices! If I look back to my school year I’d say 85% of them are either running their own business or are high up in an organisation. Many would have had 5-8 jobs by now (maybe within the same industry) but with different organisations. I am confident that many would have so many apps that is clogging up their phones and computers and who are probably reading this today thinking about “de-cluttering”…. My generation have everything at their fingertips, they have choices and can move at lighting speed to create something new but again thanks to our parents and there parents and the many generations before that have allowed us the wonderful choices we have today!

Future generations – well this is a hard one, do I fear for my children and their children, do I worry that technology will stop them from creating their own path way, well just for the record no I dont.

Like my grandparents and parents who have got off their butts and given things a go for the greater good I am so hopeful that this “gene” is the strongest past thru my family lines. For so many of our children generation there is going to be so much more “choice” and so many pathways to head that the focus need to be just that “focus”, do I expect them to have a job for life, maybe, do I expect them to have more than 10 jobs, maybe, one thing I want to show them is “resilience”. Things are going to change, like my grandparents have shown – that what ever you choose to do you are going to have to work hard, there will be some amazingly great days and their will for sure be some crap days. Its having the reserve to keep on “digging” that will see you achieve your dreams.


With this all in mind and a bit of a brain dump on generations working in there careers, I wanted to share a tool that I have built in order to support and help you and your career trajectory (sorry its not an app – just a piece of paper) feel free to share around who ever.

(I hope this explanation gets you started)

Your Career Trajectory Plan

Let’s keep it simple and break this down into 10 year chunks, let’s imagine breaking these down into your own 10 year mini plan………..this spans your career, your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. Whilst looking at your own mini 10 year plan I feel it is very important to consider a key ingredients that will have to be explored in order for you to create your own master piece. Lets consider

  • Your parents age

  • Your Kids (if you have any or planning) age

  • Your Personal Value $, this could include, home, investment, savings, pensions, rentals, inheritance, etc.

Now, let’s look at you and what has been, is and will be your “focus” again put these into your mini 10 year plan across your 20s, 30s, 40s etc. Things that typically fall into this “focus” area include but not limited to:- travel, sports, your wellbeing, family, personal education, kids education, investments, hobbies etc. I feel its important to shrink these down to say 3 or 4 key things that will go into your 10 year mini plans.

Then let us look together at your “Roles”, I am not that keen on titles for this section more focused in on what you will be doing, things to consider may include: leading others, running a business, mentoring staff internally / externally, board appointments, charity work, full time/part time etc. Within your 10 year mini plans they could also include things like, size of organisation, location to home, type of people you will work with / for, the product etc. I know titles are important but when we are bringing together your own career trajectory these will spill out. Remember what titles might have been around 40 years ago might not be around in 40 years to come!

A big part of anyones career trajectory in my experience comes back to “Education” For each of the clients I work with on this we spend a great deal of time about future proofing your skills, things to again consider in your 10 year mini plans across your 20s, 30s, 40s etc could include; professional qualifications, in-house training, on-line training, executive management programs, distant learning, language learning, specific to where you are heading! There are some amazing educational programs available around the world, as someone who is dyslexic sitting in a class room and reading a whole heap of manuals just doesn’t do it for me, investigate the learnings that work for you (and at the times that you work best). A great example to share with you all, I recently woke up midnight till 8am NZ time to be part of an advanced learning coaching program, the reason it worked for me (wasn’t the time zone) but the hands on learning with other similar wonderful folks from a variety of different countries and age groups, powerful stuff.

RULE ONE ——- Don’t be afraid to course correct if you feel you need to – remember this is your own career trajectory and it should work for you!

So we come onto the “skills/knowledge” part of our one pager plan – I hope its all making sense so far if not do get in contact I would love to discuss and help more. With your “skills/knowledge” there may be some grey areas here that is why it works to look at your end goal and then take a step back to build up to that goal, things to consider here might overlap with your “educational part” better understanding of technology, how to read financial reports, ways to run successful meetings, how to get the best from your staff, how does product drive marketing of a company etc the list again could be endless but I try and get 3 / 4 key skills/learning that will be worked on within each of your mini 10 year plans. Dont be shy here – the point is to personal grow and develop yourself so think big – think bold.

It is important that as we pull toghether your career trajectory plan we do acknowledge key career highlights, things you have done, that you are so very proud of, it could be things such as, getting a promotion, helping others to succeed, building a good group of mentors, delivering ongoing financial returns to my board/invests, it could be launching a new product, it could be being asked to speak at a industry specific conference, or things like seeing my team do amazing things, dont hid away from those professional achievements – it may be hard to look to far into the future but I want you to at least think about “what are some key highlights that when you are 86 and looking back you will be so proud of. Think big and again think bold.

The final part as we wrap up today’s 2500+ word blog and again if you would like some support in bringing this to life please do get in touch with me, its great fun and I love to see individuals flourish, where ever you are in the world.

The final part is “personal investments” again to make this work best for you it might be a $ number you are looking at, or it might be things you want to be doing (in which case how much $ will I need to ensure I am able to live the life I chose) areas I have seen on individuals career trajectory plans have included; mortgage free, rental home, health care for myself and family, $ to spend time with the grandkids, investing in start-ups again the list is endless but it has to be your input.

As I mentioned at the very beginning of todays blog a quote from my dad and I can’t think of any better quote to use for such an important topic “life is not a dress rehearsal, enjoy it” thanks dad for sharing with this with me at such a young age.

If you have followed the above you are typing to create a one page masterpiece, lets call it your career trajectory plan – the only rule I try and part is this, there is no point creating such a wonderful powerful document and for it to be stuck in a draw never to be seen the life of day, refer to it, visualise it, have it in a place you will constantly see it, dont be afraid to course correct – add to it – but ultimate “live by it”

Go on and give it a go, you may just surprise yourself of all the things you have achieved so far and all the great success you are going to achieve now and into your future.

There are no hacks, no apps, no short cuts it comes back to good old fashion hard work, dig deep you may find a gold nugget.

Well, thank you so much for taking the time to read today’s blog, I hope it will inspire you to put pen to paper, think big and to be bold.

Look after yourself and each other.


Nick Roud, Executive Coach

Roud Career Coaching


#1 Executive Coach in New Zealand on Intelligent Leadership (IL) Executive Coaching

About Nick,

Nick is an executive coach and lives in Auckland New Zealand with his wife Nicola and two kids, Louie and Willow. Over the years Nick has personally coached many amazing indivuduals that want to get results and to improve. 90% of Nicks clients are senior executives, CEOs, Directors, General Mangers, Board Members and High potential individuals. His blogs cover a variety of topics and more can be found at you can work with Nick by contacting him at

Nick Roud, Executive Coach at Roud Career Coaching.

Nick Roud, Executive Coach at Roud Career Coaching.


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630