Pune, India

Steer your career in the new year!

Steer your career in the new year!

People work as an individual as well as in different teams, do different things and explore new things in their careers.

However, there always comes a time when everyone starts thinking – where am I going? What direction is my career going in?

They might have some fantastic moments in their career in the past and could be doing great things in the present as well – but can they keep doing that for the rest of their lives?

I realized that we become so consumed in our careers that we fail to really think about our careers.

As a habitual reader, I came across a wonderful piece of information which outlines some steps to avoid the trap. It is a fruitful exercise which must not take more than a couple of hours to reflect on one’s career – and plan the next year.

Step 1: Review the year that went by:
Review the past year, month by month. Make a list of where you spent your time: include your major projects, responsibilities, and accomplishments. No need to over-complicate this.

Step 2: Ask, “What is the news?”:
Look over your list and reflect on what is really going on. Think like a journalist and ask yourself: Why does this matter? What are the trends here? What happens if these trends continue?

Step 3: Ask “What would I do in my career if I could do anything?”:
Just brainstorm with no voice of criticism to hold you back. Just write out all the ideas that come to mind.

Step 4: Go back and spend a bit more time on Step 3:
Too often we begin our career planning with our second best option in mind. We have a sense of what we would most love to do but we immediately push it aside. Why? Typically because “it is not realistic” which is code for, “I can’t make money doing this.” In this economy—in any economy—I understand why making money is critical. However, sometimes we pass by legitimate career paths because we set them aside too quickly.

Step 5: Write down six objectives for the next year:
Make a list of the top six items you would like to accomplish in your career in the next year and place them in priority order.

Step 6: Cross off the bottom five:
Once you’re back to the whirlwind of work you’ll benefit from having a single “true north” career objective for the year.

Step 7: Make an action plan for the first 2 months:
Make a list of some quick wins you’d like to have in place end of March.

Step 8: Decide what you will say no to:
Make a list of the “good” things that will keep you from achieving your one “great” career objective. Think about how to delete, defer or delegate these other tasks. Emerson said, “The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there.”

A few hours spent wisely over a couple of days could easily improve the quality of your life over the 8760 hours of the entire year –and perhaps far beyond.
After all, if we don’t design our careers, someone else will. (Greg McKeown)

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