Tips for setting career goals in a changing world

In the fast-moving world made possible through technology, is it possible to have long term career goals?  No sooner have you you settled on an objective, whether that be remaining in your current role for the next year, or that 3 year plan, things may well have shifted.

Career decision making is an evolving and continual process where the continuous re-appraisal of your sphere of influence, values, interests, financial requirements, temperament etc will directly impact the outcome.  The effects of past experiences, new information, technological change and other changes in your life all combine and must be continually assessed in order to create long and short term goals.

In order to make career decisions that work for you,  as distinct from your employer, consciously list your personal values, interests, capabilities and attributes, then wash them against what you are interested in doing with your career. Working through this alone is no trivial task as objectively testing your assumptions can be difficult.

This is where working with a seasoned business mentor with deep expertise in IT mentoring can help you test,validate and refine your assumptions to help you develop a robust, practical perspective on your career, not only on your current job.  Now, that’s sustainable

Adept career decision making requires flexibility and openness towards learning and trying new things.

  1. It’s never too late to start: A good starting point is to have a clear definition of what you would like to achieve. Try to identify the real, stand-out achievement that you would like to gain, not a short term problem you’d like to eradicate. Framing the problem in specific question will give you a focus and in turn, by answering the question, will allow you to identify your goal.  Like switching on a Christmas tree light one at a time in a dark room – after a while the true shape emerges.
  2. Your career plan is not shelfware: The world is volatile, and the review of the state of health and relevance of your career plans  on a regular basis is probably not a bad idea!
  3. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it: Meaningful career planning is no trivial exercise in itself. If it’s too easy, then maybe you’re not asking yourself (and others in your trusted network) the right questions, or even more importantly checking your assumptions.
  4. Make your next stepping stone realistic: Whilst we can all dream about what may be, the reality is that if you can plan your next career stepping stone to be realistic and practical, it will assist in formulating concrete, practical plans at achieving that next goal. Analysing a list of feasible alternatives that you have created will allow you to identify and balance options along with the probability of achieving these outcomes for each solution.
  5. Deliberate action trumps inertia: After you have identified your solution, take action. Ask yourself how you can implement your choice. Giving yourself a “push in the right direction” and getting a small result will usually inspire you to keep going.  Partner with someone that understands your plans and is willing to help keep you on track.

The key is to be constantly aware of what’s changing in your professional ecosystem and life, and prepare to plan for change, after all it’s change that is pervasive.  Invest in working with a business mentor with substantial, current experience and fresh perspectives on how IT mentoring can be a game changer might make all the difference.

Set your sails and enjoy the journey as much as getting to your destination.