The greatest thing in the world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving. Oliver Windell Holmes
With the effect of pandemic still ravaging the world, and the rapid and dramatic changes occurring in the economic, political, technological and cultural aspects of the society, there is bound to be a profound effect in the world of work. In addition, accompanying these changes is a level of uncertainty that may influence people’s careers.
This article is focused on the meaning of career goal, various stages in setting career goals and challenges of managing career goal.
WHAT IS CAREER?
Merriam-Webster.com defined career as a field for or pursuit of a consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life. Career may also be regarded as different experiences that you undertake in the world of work throughout your life time. The following experiences helps in building up your career work experience: life roles, cultural activities, trainings, education etc.
WHAT IS GOAL?
A goal according to Wikipedia, is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieve. People endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines. A goal is synonymous with a purpose or aim.
WHAT THEN IS CAREER GOAL?
According to Corporatefinanceinstitute.com, a career goal is a well-defined statement explaining the profession that an individual intends to pursue throughout his career. However, Greenhaus and his colleagues point out that a career goal need not target a specific job. Instead, it can represent the type of work experiences an individual intends to achieve, or what is called a conceptual career goal.
HOW DO YOU SET A CAREER GOAL?
Let us consider some following stages of goal setting;
The big picture: What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve? What is the big picture you are seeing? Before you set out, you must put the end goal into consideration. Remember, Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof. You are the CEO of your career.
Write down the vision: During my first year at my current company, I ran into my former GMD on the staircase, (if you know him well, every time you meet him could mean another round of interview) but not this time, as he gently whispered to my ear, what is your five-year goal? I am sure I must have given a very weird answer, because his next question was, how and when do you plan to achieve that? Then he went further, you must know where you are going, how and when you plan to get there.
Make your goals easier to run with by diarizing what you are seeing and what you plan to achieve. This way, you are able to carefully articulate where you are going to, how to get there, (the plan in place) and the timeframe it might likely take. This is not to put you under pressure, but this way, you are able to track your progress and your career success can be attributed to sound planning and execution and not just plain luck.
Keep it SMART: The acronym stands for SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC, and TIME BOUND. Let us look at SMART goals according to an article written by CFI (Corporate Finance Institute).
SMART goals are:
Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous
Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress toward the accomplishment of the goal
Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve
Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant to your life purpose
Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency.
Simply put setting a SMART goal helps you focus your efforts and increase the chances of achieving your goal.
Take action and ownership: It is not enough to just write your career goals down and make it SMART. It is also important to execute your plans and take responsibility for every step you take. Quit the blame game and take ownership of your career. Improve on your skill level, learn new skills, and build network, trust and credibility in your profession. Quit procrastination, read new books both in your field and outside your field, join professional groups and ensure you are relevant at every stage of your career. It is never too late to do the right thing.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR CAREER GOAL IN THE NEW BUSINESS WORLD
Below are some factors we might consider in managing our career goals with respect to the new business world.
Plan and recalibrate: Never underestimate the power of planning. It is time to create a new plan and start over. According to a popular quote by Larry Winget Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you do not have a plan. Your plan tells you what you need to do to reach your goals. And of course, the final step is about taking action.
Evaluate and reassess your set goals: Be willing to revisit your set goals and make adjustment where necessary. Your career goals are not cast in stone. Do understand that people dont drown by falling into the water. They drown because they stay in the water. Take the time to research and ensure to follow new trends with regards to your industry and career as they emerge.
Seek Advice from mentors and professionals: It is not time to retreat and isolate from others, rather reach out to trusted professionals in same field. Reject the urge to go into self-pity, frustration, disappointment or depression. According to Marisa Donnelly a prolific writer and writer coach, the founder of Be A Light Collective, (a virtual and Southern California based company with a mission of providing relationship-focused writing/editing and educational services), a support system is essential for growth, regardless of what you do or what your industry is. When you have a network of people who care about your personal and professional success, you are encouraged, and you learn from their success story.
Invest in your personal development: Training and development is important for individuals that wants to take advantage of changes, techniques and improve on their skill level. The new norm came with a lot of changes both individuals and organization can take advantage of in order to improve themselves and work processes.
Remember: “When you stop learning, you stop growing; when you stop growing, you stop living. -Roberta Smith