Five years ago, you were staring blankly at the front wall of your cubicle, lamenting another day sacrificed to a go-nowhere dead-end job. Now? Still staring blankly at the front wall of your cubicle, lamenting … well, you get the point.
The problem? Five years ago, you didn’t make a plan to energize your career. Without a plan, one day rolls into the next, days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into years.
To make progress, you need a plan.
Even if your job isn’t an existential nightmare, a five-year plan can help you maximize your potential. Here are a few tips on how to best chart out your next half-decade to reach your optimal career:
Picture the Future
It may sound like a granola, shaman-in-desert-induced exercise, but the first step to plotting your five-year plan involves a little vision. You have to imagine where you want to be.
You also have to look beyond the five-year horizon. Careers are long – decades long. As soon as you finish this five-year journey, it will be time to plan another one.
Ask yourself: What’s my ultimate goal? Do you want to maximize income? Job satisfaction? Flexibility? Retirement prospects?
Figure out your ideal long-term destination, and then use the five-year plan as a roadmap to get there.
Once you set a career destination, you need to figure out the best way to get there. That requires research. Find out what training you’ll need for the career you want and what steps you have to take to achieve your goals.
Interested in a high-salary career? Look up what professions have the best compensation prospects. Want to maximize job security? Find out what skills are likely to be in demand far in the future.
Break It Down
A five-year plan shouldn’t consist of the words “become CEO” scrawled on a cocktail napkin. Getting to your dream will require accomplishing a series of small, distinct steps.
Think of it like instructions for putting together furniture you bought on the internet. Two-hundred otherwise simple moves – a few screws here, a few dowels there – turns a pile of parts into a chest of drawers. Same with your career. Split the journey into reasonable chunks, so you can progress on a day-to-day basis.
Leave Wiggle Room
As you plan for the future, don’t forget goals outside of work. You have family, significant others and children to spend time with (and even if you don’t have all of those now, you easily could have them in five years).
Looking far into the future, it’s easy to focus too intently on limited goals. But life is a messy, sprawling adventure. Don’t become so narrow-minded you eliminate all ability to improvise and react.
Another way to achieve your long-term goals? Finding a good partner. Teaming with an industry-leading staffing firm will help you plan and obtain your five-year objectives.
SmartTalent can put you in the best situation to leverage your skills and determine your future. Contact them today to find out more.