What is more important to you? Planning your next vacation or your career? If one seeks satisfaction from life then it is important to take a step towards defining one’s career goals.
Career planning is an ever-changing and evolving process that involves real choices, decisions and plans. In career planning goal setting may encompass several aspects. Goals set need to be feasible and realistic, ones that can actually be achieved. Today’s youngsters fall short of energy, aptitude and interest when it comes to developing career paths, mainly due to a lack of time. With so much to do they often feel discouraged. Also not being able to achieve a goal is discouraging but that happens because they haven’t set practicable targets.
Barriers to Career: In order to keep your career vision simple, you need to free yourself from career barriers. Procrastination, pressure, apathy, low motivation and laziness are all personal career barriers. Then there are pressures from the family and friends. Sometimes a barrier could be a mind-set where you want to avoid taking up a career path which you perceive to be below your status or stature.
Do you know yourself: You need to make an honest assessment of your aspirations. A good idea is to share your dreams with family and friends who know you well. It’s true that no one knows you better than yourself, but it’s always advisable to have an outsider’s perspective on such an important decision. A career assessment done with a professional career councillor could really work. As you plan your career path, it is important to understand your personality, your aptitude, and your areas of interest while working on your transferable skills. There is no such thing as a good or bad personality. According to studies, you could be grouped into sixteen different types of personalities. Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Do you like thinking or doing? Do you like routines or change? Do you like to plan or do you act on impulse? A good way to understand one’s self is by getting a personality assessment done.
Questions for career goal setting: There are a few questions that you would always need to answer while planning your career so as to set realistic goals. What is the time frame available? Are you willing to commit yourself to the chosen career path? Is your education level and are the courses you are pursuing in line with your path? Who is going to provide you with the funding? Do you have the resources? Will the achievement of these goals make you a much happier person and will it enhance your personality? What are the key characteristics of the lifestyle that you hope to have? Is money important, if yes, then how much money are you able to make? Do your goals conflict or complement one another? How big is the market for your chosen field? Do you want to stay close to your home or are you willing to relocate?
While you need to find the answers to these questions, you need to work on your natural talents, which are the key to your transferable skills required for any job.
Analysing yourself: You need to analyse your likes and dislikes. What kind of activities (at work and play) do you enjoy and what activities do you tend to avoid. Make a list of both types of activities. Reflect on the times and situations in which you feel most passionate, most energetic, most engaged – and see if you can develop a common profile of these situations. Develop a list of your passions and analyse them. What does success mean to you? Is it power, control, money or the concept of just being happy? A realistic self-assessment is looking at your key strengths and weaknesses. Be good at praising yourself (“I am great at maths and physics “) but don’t forget your humility (“I am really not good at working with people”).
The time is now: A career plan for the short term ranges from the coming year to the next few years depending on what you seek to achieve. The key to your being successful on your career path would be developing realistic goals and objectives that can be accomplished in the near future. It’s never too soon (or too late) to start planning. Whether you are in school and trying to figure out what stream or courses you should take or if you are in college and looking forward to getting your first job, a professional seeking advancement in a career path or someone who wants to change careers. We all have different ambitions and targets. The road can be tough at times. It’s all about focusing on your goals and moving in the right direction since “If you don’t know where to go, any road will take you there”.
(The writer is director of Alpha Mindz)