Great careers don’t happen by accident. Truly satisfying careers are the reward of talent, hard work, a bit of luck, and a carefully managed strategy. Do you have a career development plan?
Do you have a written career plan?
Regardless of what industry you work in, whether you’re self-employed or unemployed, and whether you’re close to retirement or just starting out, here are five reasons why you need to craft a plan for your career path now and stick with it:
1. A career plan will keep you from getting stuck.
The days of being promoted at work solely based on tenure are long gone. If you allow yourself to grow comfortable performing only the tasks you were trained to do when you were hired, then you might as well make up your mind to be overworked and underpaid for the rest of your working life.
What’s worse is that the system is rigged so that, despite your loyalty, you might eventually be made redundant, and someone with higher entry-level skills paid less to do your job even faster. Without a clear career plan, you may be putting yourself at risk of taking the slow and painful route to an unfulfilling career. Look around you. There are all types of people who get stuck in a rut at work. The one thing they all have in common is that they’ve taken their professional development for granted. Don’t be one of those people.
2. A career plan will help you take responsibility for your weaknesses.
Whether or not we’d like to admit it, everyone around us knows exactly how well or how poorly we’re doing at work. All the little foibles we’ve quietly and conveniently minimized in our own minds are well-known by our colleagues.
You’re probably getting defensive, and thinking: there are things I can improve on, but I’m a not a slacker. Why play this hazardous cat and mouse game with yourself? If you are not consistently identifying areas for improvement, and working on getting better and better at what you do, sooner or later, you may lose.
3. A career plan will help define your future career path
When we don’t develop the habit of establishing and achieving clear goals, we miss out on the opportunity to steer our careers along a path of significance. Would you like to wake up one day and realize that you plodded through your days in a job you hated, instead of making a difference? Of course you don’t.
Crafting a career plan will give you the opportunity to gradually assess not only the tasks you do well, but also identify the things that bring joy and meaning to your work.
4. A career plan will help you to take charge of your own advancement
Carving out the time, and drumming up the discipline it takes to craft a career development plan for yourself will forces us to be accountable. Instead of blaming external forces for every negative turn that occurs at work, we begin to take responsibility for our own actions and reactions.
Creating a career development plan will put the power back into your own hands.
5. A career plan will give you the confidence you need to succeed.
A career development plan will give you ownership over all aspects of your career. You will begin to know your strengths and weaknesses inside out. You will decide on meaningful targets and set a realistic plans to meet them. You will know what you want to accomplish, and how far you’ve already come. You will find yourself going to work each day with a sense of purpose. New motivation for your work will seem to grow out of nowhere.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, experiences and feedback with me in the comments section below!