Career Planning: Are you kidding?

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While cruising the blogosphere this weekend, I came across more than one article that essentially said this: you should plan your career, knowing where you are going to be three years and five years from now. Knowing where you will be several years from now is the key to career management.

Are you kidding?

When the unemployment rate is 3% and the corporate churn rate is 75%, how is it that you can plan where you will be five years from now? With corporate buyouts, reorganizations, and home loans jeopardizing the credit markets for all companies, how is it that you can know where you will be in five years?

There is an assumption or two behind that “know where you are in five years” mantra out there: you will be with the same company and the company has a well thought out career management path for their employees.

But, even that assumption is subject to tough scrutiny. How many of us are with the same company for five years? How many companies have a well thought out career path for their people given the rampant reorganizations out there?

I’m not of the mind that we should know where we should be in our career in five years. But I have a few ideas on what we should be doing to plan our careers.

What are yours?

  • Couldn’t agree more. However, a significant focus of career planning is to improve yourself and your skills.

    For example, one goal in your career planning might be to begin a reading program-two books a month on motivation, leadership or skill related. This goal is irrespective of where you are working and what job you have or aspire to.

    Perhaps a career goal is to become self-employed or own a business. Over time you can save the resources to buy or start a business or learn the skills required. This requires planning and goal setting.

    If an employee saves 10% of their pay in a 401k, or some other investing vehicle, when they are in their 20s think of the career options they will have 20 years later. To do this requires planning (career or otherwise) and taking a long view (which in many quarters is sorely lacking today).

    Instead of career planning we might call it life planning.

  • Scott,

    Hope you are well.

    I understand what you are saying. However, you can still have a career plan on where YOU want to be, irrespective of the unemployment rate and the corporate churn rate.

    Therefore, you could say I want to be a Team Leader, managing 10 people in 2 years time or a Director of Marketing in 5 years time or run my own Management Consulting business in 7 years time. You may not be working for the same company, but you can still plan YOUR own career.


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