Discussions of “career goals” often focus on job seekers and are usually designed to help candidates target their searches and zero in on highly specific positions with laser-like focus. The desired results are typically short term, and success means landing an interview, landing an offer, and scheduling a start date within a few weeks. But these are better defined as job search goals, not career goals.
By contrast, long-term, meaningful career goals are not targets or finish lines. Instead, they resemble winding paths that disappear over a horizon that lies several years, or even decades, in the future. They also apply to managers, directors, and business owners, not just entry-level employees who are drafting their first resumes and scanning online boards. Here are a few moves that can help every one of us—employees and managers alike – visualize a future that makes us feel happy, fulfilled, and financially stable.
Identify your best moments.
The first step to finding happiness and satisfaction involves recognizing these things when you see them. At what points and during what kinds of moments are you happiest at work? When you’re learning something new? When you’re making a connection with a client? When you’re solving a puzzle? When you’re basking in your boss’s approval? When you’re executing a complex task in perfect harmony with a team of co-workers? What kinds of moments make you say “I love this job”?
What long-term problems do you need to solve?
Even the most delightful interactions with your clients and co-workers won’t solve the larger barriers that stand between you and your best life. For example, if you’re struggling with thousands of dollars of student loan debt, you need to get out from under this burden. If you’d like to move into your own place, secure health insurance, or have a child at some point in the future, you’ll need to plot the course of your career accordingly. The obstacles standing between where you are and where you want to be might include a specific degree you haven’t earned yet, a specific type of knowledge or experience you don’t yet have, money you don’t have, or a license to practice. You’ll need to identify these barriers and knock them down, one by one.
Break large goals into small ones.
To get from where you’re standing to your ultimate destination, you need a road map. And once you have that road map, start moving forward. Break your big goals (for example, earning a master’s degree) into smaller ones, and then break those small goals into even smaller pieces. Keep doing this until the steps in front of you are tiny and entirely manageable. (For example, contact local university and request application materials.)
For more on how to start moving toward a great life and a fulfilling career, arrange an appointment with the staffing and career management experts at Cordia Resources.