Do you have a 5 year career plan?
Does your current job make you happy?
[By happy I don't mean "fulfilling your life purpose". God knows it would be kind of exhausting to fulfill your life purpose every day for the next 10 years. I mean - simply fulfilling, "it's ok to get up in the morning to head for work" -kind-of-fulfilling ]
If not, have you thought about what it would take to improve?
In these times of crisis, when most people would be happy doing just any job, I think it’s critical that we define what provides a fair level of enjoyment – and try to get a job within that area. I’m not suggesting you nail the world’s most perfect job , but at least
1. Figure out what you’re good at. You’re probably liking it too. I haven’t met many people who hate doing what they’re good at.
Did I ever tell you how I got into HR?
I was a first year student in college, and had just got accepted to join a large student association. I was supposed to pick a team to join – and teams were organized just like departments in a company. I had no idea what I wanted, so I asked my older buddy.
He asked “Well, what do you like doing?”
“Well, I most like drawing and painting. But I don’t see how this could translate into a ‘corporate’ field.”
“Why did you come to this [economic] university then?”
“Hey, wait! When I decided to come here, I thought psychology was also a good option. I’m also interested in psychology, how people behave and what’s behind their actions.”
“That’s great – you’re a good fit for HR then. Why don’t you join this team?”
…and the rest is history.
2. Look for jobs that are in that area.
Hint – this is where you might want to talk to a career coach (like myself or this coach or this coach). Did I ever mention how many applicants to HR jobs say they want to go to HR because “they want to work with people?” Well, surprise! you can do that in almost any job! (actually, if you ask me, if you want to work with people and are good in communicating, you may have better chances in Sales)
3. Check your current skills and “selling points” and start applying.
This part is exploited by so many blogs, websites and resources, I’m not even going to into it.
4. Before choosing a job, look a few years ahead and think about how it’s going to help you on the long run.
For example, you may want to say yes to a lower-paid job, below your level, because it’s in a company where you can learn. And your plan is to get promoted within the next 3 years (this was my thinking when I joined my previous employer – and worked out better than expected!).
5. Do a revision of your 5 year career plan – every year.
It doesn’t mean that if you are clear about where you’re headed, your road will stay the same. You might realize in a year or two that your current job is not satisfying. Or that you want to move to an NGO. Or that you want to start your business. It’s ok. Just keep the perspective.
A great manager I once knew said when he accepted the job, he planned to stay in the company for one year. And he revised his career plan every year around Christmas – he asked himself if he wanted to stay another year, if the job and the perspectives are what he really wants. The answer was “Yes”.
He’s been in the company for 20 years now. But he still does the check every year.