Road to Nowhere
June 7, 2012 by
If you don’t know where you’re going, then, as Lewis Caroll’s Cheshire cat character famously said to Alice, “it really doesn’t matter which way you go”.
Be warned however, as when it comes to having a successful, rewarding and enjoyable career, if you don’t know what you want or where you’re going, you’re most likely going to wind up on the road to nowhere; doing something you don’t enjoy, working for people you don’t really like, and feeling pretty bad about having to go to work each day.
Sure, you can still get by; admittedly, I’d gotten by for years without really knowing where I was going in my career. Some things worked out for me, others didn’t. It was all a bit random. I was making decisions based on gut-feel, or because an opportunity happened to come up, or someone asked me to do something that sounded interesting. While on some level this served me, and I was relatively successful, the problem in the end was that all I had really managed to do successfully was something I didn’t really enjoy doing.
Leaving your career direction to others, or to fate, your employer, the market situation, or anything other than your own goals and aspirations is a risky strategy (if it can even be considered a strategy at all). You can blame where you are on others for a while, but in the end, that all gets a little boring and makes you feel pretty powerless. It took me several years of blaming my boss, my company, my education, a lack of support, my financial situation, and just about everything else for why I was where I was, and also why I couldn’t possibly do anything else now that I’d gotten there. One day I got sick of my own complaining and decided I needed to do something about it instead. Being ready and willing to do something, is the first step.
Here are five more steps to help you start steering your own career in the direction you want it to go
- Reflect on your current state
- Assess what options are available to you right now
- Set an objective and develop a series of goals to support this direction
- Create a strategy and timeline to achieve each of your goals, one at a time
- Evaluate your progress periodically and make changes to your strategy if necessary
Setting an objective and having goals doesn’t mean you necessarily have to follow them blindly or that you can’t change your mind. You can always recalibrate if you notice a better route. Having a direction in the first place however will allow you to take notice of that better route if it does come along. You can’t take advantage of something if you don’t notice it.
“Only a few find the way, some don’t recognize it when they do – some… don’t ever want to”. Cheshire Cat quote again, I couldn’t resist, he’s just so wise!
By taking control of your own career, and actively managing it, you’ll be better able to evaluate and identify which opportunities are right for you. If you know what you want to achieve and where you’re heading, you’re more likely to end up on the road heading somewhere you actaully want to be.
If you need help working through the steps or with your career direction in general – contact CareerBuilders today.More Articles