What are your career goals ?

You need to plan your employment. The idea is to know what you want to do, where you want to go, and how to get there.

That means a career choice, finding out how to create your career, and doing it all.

Young people need to do some real thinking about this, because the global economy is changing shape daily. Careers are evolving while you read this.

Risks

It’s important to understand the risk factors in planning a career.

Your goal is pretty obvious, but your career and employment covers a period of decades, and a lot happens in a time frame like that.

Things you need to see coming:

  • Training and skills development, continuing education
  • Income needs and covering likely expenses
  • Life events, marriage, children, mortgage
  • Retirement and savings needs

Things you can’t predict

  • Employment events like downsizing, restructuring
  • Extra costs
  • Health and medical
  • Unexpected life events

Thinking ahead

Your short term needs are a lot easier to deal with.

You need qualifications, experience, skill levels, and to cover costs. This is getting from A to B, and it’s good practice.

Some lateral thinking is always useful:

  • Figure out what you need to do to get your basic needs and how to do those things. There’s usually a bit of number crunching, but that’s worth doing.
  • Paying for things is also a good idea, rather than accumulating debts. Learn how to handle costs, and you’re using your time well. It’s an invaluable skill in any career.

Long term planning

You can, to a point, approach long term career planning the same way, but are real limitations to that.

Most of the traps in planning are based on costs:

  • Making long term financial commitments is risky by definition.
  • Your income and circumstances can change a lot in a very short time.
  • Predicting costs, even short term, can be tricky.
  • Additional costs can show up any time, and have to be covered. This is a really deadly one, and you need to have some extra money to cover unexpected costs. Savings are always useful.
  • Even the source of income can create a demand for money, due to needs for training, overheads, etc.
  • The most trustworthy way of dealing with your planning is to try to ensure costs are managed effectively without “surprises”. Always budget for known costs and try to have some spare money, just in case.

    Career goals

    Having got through the minefield, you can now, finally, concentrate on the career itself.

    Career goals are like a GPS system, they tell you where you are, relative to where you want to go.

    Whatever the career, you can usually decide the things you want to do.

    (Actually, that’s a good definition of a career goal, something you want to do, as opposed to a “career” which is a goal of itself.)

    Being able to achieve your goals ultimately depends on you.

    To succeed in any lifetime career means a lot of application and commitment ultimately means succeeding according to your own idea of success. That’s your real goal. Do that, and you’ll have no regrets.