Most people see career planning as something they do when they have to come out of high school or college. Once they are in a job of some description, they see no reason to continue to flog it. The best way would be to plan your career several times throughout your life – at least once every couple of years.
It’s a healthy thing to constantly think about your career because it’s becoming apparent these days that a career for life is no longer a given. It used to be that you could just not have a job for life. These days, you can’t even count on a career. It’s likely that before the decade is out, you’ll find that your industry has been made obsolete.
There’s really no reason why should disregard it or put it off. Finding new goals to achieve in your life and going after then should be considered a fulfilling thing. Most people who do make themselves do it, come away feeling that it’s been a great, rewarding experience.
If you don’t really know how to go about doing any career planning when you’re ready in a job, here’s a great way to kick-start it. Visit a career planning event in your neighborhood. And do it once every year. You will go there, you’ll find everyone pitching different career options to you, talking about the possibilities and the talents needed and so on, and you’ll find that you keep getting new ideas all the time.
This way, should you one day be forced to look for something new, you’ll have an array of options to think about right away.
Career planning isn’t just about draining of the few possibilities. You need to actually map it out. You need to map it out with pen and paper in hand. Every year, you need to write out a report card for how you’ve done in your current position, and you need to see how what you’ve done can help you find your way forward. Put this together with the knowledge you gain going to a career planning event every year, and you have some pretty solid ideas for what works best for you.
As Steve Jobs says, if you don’t know what you’re passionate about, don’t get into a halfway career. Do something really uncommitted like being a waiter at a restaurant or something. Keep thinking all the while and when something does really inspire you, go for it. You’ll get much further this way.
As you keep thinking about what you like and what you hate every time you decide to do a bit of career planning, you’ll find that it really strikes you one day what you’re really good at. That’s a moment to remember.