The Importance of career planning

Rudder less, Anchor less!

Focused career planning is difficult to accomplish due to uncertainties in life. The same applies to career goals. Therefore, many individuals do not spend much time thinking about their long term carer plans. Everyday we are surrounded by a lot of other information to react to and many short-term issues to deal with. Whilst doing our best to navigate these turns we often forget where we are trying to get to in the long term.

In eternity I live; Come from. Path is just series of footprints

To properly guide your career, it is important to recognise what it is that drives you and motivates you. Having awareness of this allows you to have better alignment in your life and to ensure that all actions you undertake are always taking you towards your goals. Without a clear idea of what you desire form your career your moves are just dependent on the trend or what your superiors decide for you. If you succeed this way it just feels like a “happy accident”.

Career planning can manifest itself in many ways, in your personal life, professional life, and in the balance between them. Goals need to be written down because the act of writing brings those goals from an intangible corner of your thoughts to the real world to be worked on. Making this a habit, writing down short term and long term goals, allows them to stay at the forefront of your mind, guiding all your thoughts and actions. This sort of planning is made much more effective if all your plans and goals can be translated into real world action, such as the next position within your firm or what steps are needed to get the promotion you want. This allows you to better assess yourself at how close you are form reaching your targets and if they are realistic. Not all goals are the same or have the same importance. You must look at what makes the biggest desired differences in your life and work on them first.

This takes time and effort – developing a structured routine for this is optimal. A recommendation would be to dedicate some time of your quarter solely to planning, without any disturbance. This time can be spent setting goals and reviewing progress on current goals. It would also be fruitful to use this time to think and mentally frame how you want everything else coming at you in the next quarter to be.

Chances are that, whenever you are reading this, there are ongoing discussions in the industry about how unpredictable the market and future are. It’s easy to listen to that and conclude that goal setting and career planning are futile tasks, because we won’t ever have completely stable conditions to work in. Regardless, it is still a good idea to have short and long term goals. If you still think that career planning is pointless because everything is so volatile, rest assured that the main benefit of setting goals is to have a direction, not specifically the achievement of these goals.

Over a longer period, even if your goals are yet to be met, the increased focus in your day-to-day life you gain from setting them is beneficial. When you have a vision of your career and are goal-focused, you work better because you have a concrete idea of what the end product should be. This is much more focused than just “wanting to do a good job”. It positions you to be able to bring more value and direction to your life and your firm.

Krishan Sharma wrote this article for Comaea Consulting with research assistance of Animan Amit. Krishan is a management consultant having recruited over 100 managers, assessed over 500 executives and coached over 100 leaders in his 20 years HR career. Animan Amit is an undergraduate student of Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. 

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