When was the last time you had a checkup? And I don’t mean from your physician — I mean a career success checkup. After all, only 30 percent of workers ever land their dream jobs. You might as well take a moment to figure out whether or not you’re one of them (or could become one of them).
Start With Your Life Plan
Life plans are helpful guides for those looking toward their bright futures. You don’t need to be a supremely organized person to set successful goals. Just consider the following:
- Education: How long do you want or need to be in school to achieve your professional goals?
- Finances: If working through school is an option, what kind of money-saving tactics can you put into action?
- Budgeting: Living independently while in school is no easy task. How will you budget successfully?
- Family: When do you want to start settling down with a loved one? Would you like to start a family someday?
- Recreation and Pleasure: What kind of hobbies do you want to get into? How much time do you need to take off for yourself? What jobs will give you flexible time off, if needed?
Sticking to a list of long-term goals can help stay on track. Once you’ve created your list, check it twice a year to ensure that you’re following through with your plans. It may be a good idea to do one self-check on the Fourth of July and another on New Year’s Day, as they are about six months apart.
A Few Questions to Ask Yourself During Your Self-Checks:
- What have I accomplished?
- Am I moving forward in my career?
- What can I improve?
- What additional steps can I take to continue toward my end goal?
- Are my values still the same?
- Should I consider a new career?
Checking in on your professional goals can help you give yourself some direction over the coming months. Keeping tabs on these goals is also important in order to prevent yourself from becoming an unhappy or disengaged person. If you find you’re straying from your plans, you can take corrective action before it’s too late.
And if you ever find that your goals no longer align with your happiness, remember: the average American will only spend 4.6 years within a given job. It’s not uncommon to rethink your path, and it’s certainly never too late to do so.
Randall Hansen, Ph.D., writes that “[c]areer planning should be a rewarding and positive experience.” Don’t let excuses like “I don’t have time” get in the way of your happy path!