Career planning comes in many forms and fashions. Let’s first discuss what makes a great career. A great career provides you with the right mix of pieces that make your working life perfect for you. Not perfect for your mother or your spouse or your situation, but perfect for Y-O-U. You are what matters here pretty much not anyone else. You are going to be spending over one-quarter to one-third of your life (120,000 hours) doing “it” (your job/career) so you better make sure “it” is centered on what you want out of your life and not someone else.
I have been hearing a great song lately that I think you should read one of the main lines. It states: “…don’t close your eyes. This is your life. Are you who you want to be?” It is by a group named Switchfoot and it really hits home to remind you that yesterday is over and you are determining your own path. You should not close your eyes and just let life happen to you.
I am not suggesting you should go ahead and quit a job or make a drastic change if you are not in the right situation now. I am suggesting if you are not in the right situation for Y-O-U then you need to start planning your steps to change your career and start experiencing the life you dreamed of. Here are three easy steps to help you get started with planning your career no matter where you are at with it:
Step 1: Pick one career path you want to explore and go explore it. You can only do one thing at a time anyways so just pick one path and start learning if it is right for you. So maybe you have three or four or even ten areas you want to explore. So what? You better get started now otherwise you will never do it. One at a time now…
Step 2: Learn and experience everything you can about that new direction. This is the easy part because you can find people who are doing what you want to do, visit them, ask good questions and learn from what they did right and what they did wrong. Take classes, visit businesses or places where you can see this job being done. This is where you research if this is the right choice for you. Take as much time as you need.
Step 3: Once you find a new career path, find a way to transfer your current skill set to this new path. Most of the time there is a way to do it but you might have to take a pay cut or move down a rung or two on the ladder. That is ok. This is normal and most of the time a temporary situation. Take on a second job or sell some stuff on Craigslist part-time. Find a way to make it work.
These three easy steps will help you determine if a particular job path is right for you. This is career planning 101 and should not require too much thought. Your fears and current living situation might try to get in the way and create a roadblock to your success. That is normal too. Roll with each of the roadblocks that come up and smash through them. In career planning, I think of roadblocks as things put in the way to determine if you are serious about your decisions. Everything has a good and a bad component. The roadblocks will help you decide if you are willing to handle the tough part of this new career.
Let’s Get Started!