How often do you sit down and review your long-term career goals? Have you ever thought about what your long-term career goals are? This is the type of planning that many people intend to do, and then life gets in the way. Knowing where you want to be in five, ten, or twenty years is a good starting point because then you can work backward from your end goal to get there starting today.
You may also be thinking about reevaluating your long-term career goals after the past couple of years. As we’re seeing with the ‘great resignation’, many people are taking stock of their professional and personal lives and deciding if they are on the path they want to be on.
The pandemic has also opened up previously unavailable opportunities through remote work. People can now find jobs they want and still live near their families, or they can live out of the country or travel around the country while being able to work, or they may realize they want to freelance or start their own company rather than be tied to an employer.
However, there are still many in the workforce that are unsure of what they want to do and need some help with the long-term view of their careers. A recent Harvard Business Review article provides some strategies you can use to help you achieve your long-term career goals.
Decide what you don’t want
As a species, we are averse to uncertainty, which at times can lead us to make decisions quickly and without thinking through the long term implications. Instead, according to the article, “Get clear on what you don’t want, and then take steps to avoid that. It’s much easier to identify things you know you dislike, rather than ideating about a hypothetical future.” Take your time to understand what you don’t want in your next role, be it the type of boss you don’t want to work for, the industry you want to work in, or the role itself. Then you’ll be more prepared to start thinking about what you do want in your next role.
Develop provisional hypotheses
Does this sound familiar, you try to do everything assigned to you only to figure out later that you can’t do it all? And what’s worse, you haven’t done much of what was assigned well since you were trying to do too much. It can be the same with your goals. You need to narrow your focus. There may be a lot of options that seem appealing to you, but if you go after all of them, you’ll be wasting time and likely won’t make any progress at all. Rather, take a more disciplined approach and gather information on each option you’re considering. Doing so can help you understand which ones may not be the best fit for you and which ones do align with your interests.
Make progress on the basics
As with any activity, we like to get to the fun aspects. However, we can’t overlook the fundamentals. Once you know where you want to go, make sure you have the requisite skills and knowledge required. And it’s never been easier to acquire new skills. From boot camps to online learning, there are a variety of ways you can invest your time to become proficient in new skills and learn new concepts.
Take stock of your emotional and mental energy
In looking at your long-term career goals, be honest with yourself. According to the article, “One of the most important elements in thinking strategically about your career is understanding that our lives operate in cycles — I call it “thinking in waves” — and we have to recognize where we are in that process.” Some people may be energized after the past two years, and ready to jump into a new experience. Others may feel exhausted and would be better served to take a break before making a career change. Understand where you are and if you need to, take care of yourself first.
If you’re thinking about your long-term career goals, check out our blog for more information on career trends, hiring practices, company culture, and more.