Mala Subramaniam's Blog

Mala Subramaniam's Blog

My thoughts about leadership, communications and career development

How to plan your career

Most interviews include the questions: “What is your short term goal (for next 2 years)?” and “What is your long term goal (for next 5 years)?” While most candidates have a prepared answer for this, how many of them actually have a plan?

How many times have you seen people leave jobs saying that they were not satisfied with the work? But is it always only the organization’s/management’s fault? Or did the employee just do whatever he/she is told and not think or plan about where their career should go next? It’s hard to blame the employees either. It is easy to get carried away with the daily routines and lose sight of the big picture (their career goals).

In order to have a successful and satisfying professional career, you must plan it. For that, you need to set career goals. Be honest with yourself. You can put down multiple goals if you are not sure of what you want to achieve or where you want to be. Eventually, as you gain more experience, things will get clearer and you will become more focused. Once you set your goals, you need to revisit and revise them regularly.

In order to do that, I suggest a simple “hack”. Just create a recurring calendar event every three months with the title “Self-evaluation”. This forces you to think about your career. It forces you to ask questions like “Am I on the right track to achieve my career goals?”, “Is what I am doing aligned with my career goals?”,  “Is this what I want to do in the long term?” etc. Then you can self-evaluate and make the appropriate changes if necessary. This also forces you to see if your goals are aligned with the organization/management goals. If not, it might be time for a change.

Do you agree with what I just said? Do you have any other tips for career planning? Share them with me in the comments below.

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