I hated it when my boss asked me “What do you want to be when you grow up?” as part of our conversation about my career. I had no idea what I wanted from my career in the long term. I kind of knew what I wanted to do next, but 10 years down the road was not visible to me.
What I’ve found to be most important is to understand what you are looking for in your career. What are your expectations around roles, responsibilities, location, hours, and culture? These are the questions that need to find the answers for in the present and near future, say 1 – 2 years. Things change as we grow and learn, so don’t think more than 5 years out unless you really have a driving vision for your career. Some people do.
As these answers become clear you will be able to see what your next step looks like. When you have no definition on what you want it’s easy to get stuck in place because there are too many options. Narrowing your focus will help you pick a path for your next move.
Picking a single path doesn’t condemn you to staying on a career path that stops working for you in the future. That’s the greatest thing about taking charge of your career, if it’s not working you can fix it.
By gaining clarity on what you want from your career you can start to work towards it. You will understand any gaps you may need to close, know which of your superpowers will help, and you can create a plan to get there. A goal without action is just a dream, so to reach your career goal you need to take action, so the plan is key.
Here are my 3 favorite tips to gain clarity on what you want from your career:
Understanding what you want from your career is the first step to taking charge of your career so you can achieve the career you desire. As you understand what you want, you will be able to speak up for those goals and advocate for yourself.