One of the greatest mistakes people tend to make when it comes to their careers is going along in school or working in a position that is entry level and doing so aimlessly with no goals to be met. When you have no specific direction that is concise and clear, life can become mundane and feel pointless. These types of people wait and wait before they try for other job and educational opportunities. Finding a job that is well paying, or choosing a degree plan that will provide good opportunities for advancement should not be an afterthought that comes to your mind once you have fallen into a rut. These things should be at the front of your mind. They should be well planned out for a long time so that you can be prepared to meet any and all challenges and so that you know what you have chosen to do is what you really want to spend your life doing. The key is preparation. The second key is preparation. You can never have too much preparation! That is what career planning is all about!
Imagine that you are going to sign up for a huge marathon. Instead of preparing for the marathon, which you would need to do for months before it occurs, you wait until the last few days to get some training in. Of course if you do this you will not be ready to take on such an undergoing. Marathons are horribly difficult to participate in since they take so much energy and stamina. You have to get your body in the best possible shape and eat a proper diet. If you just prepare for it a few days ahead of time you will hit the wall before you even have a chance to get started good! So, if you have not taken your preparations seriously, what are the odds that you will be the winner? The answer is ZERO. Career planning is no different.
As with any vital step you will take in your life, you have to first figure out the amount of small steps it will take to get from point A to point B. To put it another way, you must decide where you wish to go so you can figure out how you will get there in the end. Each short term goal takes you a bit closer to reaching the bigger steps of you plan. When you do reach the bigger steps you are completing long term goals, and without these you have no real plan in place. So, take a good, long look at yourself and your dreams and goals. Ask the question of whether you are happy where you now are in life. If the answer is no, what will make you feel happy and fulfilled? Once you answer that question you can begin your search into what steps you must take to reach your point of fulfillment. Set your long and short term goals and get down the road to the rest of your life.
Simon Johnson is an expert when it comes to career planning (interesting to know is that the Danish term is karrierecoaching) and he really enjoys sharing his great tips on various blogs online. Currently he works as a consultant for a Danish company called Attractor.