Career goals take effort, a plan to reach them

Kim Thompson
Oct 18, 2021

When most people are asked about their career plans, there is usually a pause rather than a solid answer, and unless you love planning, you could have a similar response. Let’s be honest career planning can sometimes seem unnecessary and a little boring until you are faced with a significant change such as a job loss or the persistent feeling that you could be doing something different.

Career goals do not usually fall in your lap. Instead, it takes effort and a plan to reach them. One of the mistakes people often make in their careers is overlooking the need to manage their next steps in the present and the future.

People usually fall into two career camps – those who think about having a plan and those who have one. When a sudden change in employment happens, you can tell which camp lands a job faster.

The truth is it does take effort to manage your career, especially when there is no pressure to do so. But the result of having a plan is priceless. Having a career direction to pursue gives you confidence if you are job searching or just wanting to advance career growth with your current employer.

Thinking about planning is a good start and usually filled the right intentions, yet without putting your plan into action, it stays in your head. Having good intentions cannot substitute for an actual plan, even though you might feel better.

Most people deal with a career crisis when they are faced with it rather than taking time to gather information when less pressured.

Why do people procrastinate on managing their careers?
Because it is easy to delay when there is no immediate gratification, and some take planning to the extremes. When planning becomes too structured, it can take the spontaneity out of those who are free spirits. For others, tunnel vision on job titles keeps them stuck without the flexibility of trying something new. They end up missing opportunities to build new skills along the way towards their career goals.

It’s you own your career. If you skip the effort in managing it, you could end up settling for a job instead of planning for a fulfilling career.

Here are some thoughts towards career planning:

  • Do not let fear rule your plans. It is never too late to dream, do not allow your age or fear to influence your desire to do something different.
  • You will change careers multiple times throughout your life. Planning gives you more control and a direction to follow regardless of changes.
  • The job market is unpredictable. Who would have guessed working from home last year? This year’s trends are different from the previous year. However, when you proactively plan to use your skills and present your value to others, it can give you an advantage because you know what you want.
  • Your career might give you complete satisfaction right now, but the key is not to become complacent. Creating a good plan keeps your networking connections alive, supports continuous learning, and keeps you moving forward, growing.
  • Having peace of mind when chaos occurs all around you is the byproduct of planning; even though things feel unpredictable during change when you have a career plan, it gives you a path to follow.
  • The most significant benefit of planning is that it helps you maintain your interests and serves as a reality checklist when new opportunities are presented. When you are in the driver’s seat of your career, it helps you make good decisions in accepting or declining job offers.

While planning may not seem like an enjoyable pastime, it helps you during the highs and lows of your career. Without a plan to follow, you are most likely to drift into job opportunities rather than make a choice based on your goals.

How has planning helped your growing career? What steps did you include in your plan? Click here to share with us today!

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