In a world full of uncertainty, thinking about the future in terms of your career can lead to just as much uncertainty.
The truth is, it’s almost impossible to know where the economy will be – or what the job landscape will look like – five, ten, or twenty years from now.
Because of this, it’s best to take an inward look at your own self when pondering where you’ll end up in the future.
To do so requires you consider where you currently are, and define where you eventually want to end up. Though many factors beyond your control will surely arise throughout the course of your career, these bumps in the road shouldn’t stop you from attaining the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of your professional life.
Let’s take a look at how you can plan for short- and long-term career growth.
Looking Immediately Ahead
When we talk short-term, we’re talking about what you can do immediately to further your career.
First, you’ll need to take stock of your current situation:
- What skills do you currently have?
- What qualifications do you currently have?
- Where are you in life, in terms of living situation, finances, and overall ability to take steps forward?
Once you have an idea of where you stand, you’ll know one of two things:
- You’re prepared to set goals for the long-term, or
- You need to start taking steps in the right direction before setting longer-term goals
If the former is the case, you can feel comfortable in beginning to create a rough outline for your future.
If the latter applies, you should continue looking for short-term gains that will make it easier to determine where you’ll be able to go in the long-term.
Looking To the Future
As we said earlier, looking to the future can seem like a daunting task. It might not seem prudent to set a course for your entire life, knowing that, at any moment, something completely out of your control could cause your plans to be completely derailed.
But, again, it’s much better to have a plan that anticipates these contingencies than it is to simply not have a plan at all.
When planning for long-term career growth, you can focus not only on your current situation but on where you’ll be soon enough that will, in turn, allow you to take even further steps forward. For example, you might not have a certain set of skills at the present moment, but you can safely assume that, after attending certain courses or programs, you will have these skills – and from there will quickly be able to attain some of your more long-term goals.
In other words, when planning your long-term career goals, you can begin to view your short-term goals not as ends themselves, but as means to even greater ends.
Whether you decide to look five, ten, or twenty years into the future, what you really should be doing is looking at each step you’ll be taking throughout this time period. In turn, you’ll stop seeing “the future” as some intangible event that may or may not ever become reality, and begin seeing it as something much more attainable.
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