Times have changed. As millennials take over from the baby-boomers’ generation, organizations are realizing that they are incapable of providing stable career options in-line with the changing expectations of this younger workforce. But organizations and employees have to think of their best interests, which may not always align with each other.
Organizations often provide training to employees, ensuring that the high performers are presented with opportunities for growth. However, it is up to every individual to define their career path and goals to ensure that growth never stops.
Importance of career planning
In face of an inherent uncertainty that change often brings with it, career planning acts as an insurance policy of sorts for your professional life. It allows you to -
- Identify and acquire new skills to broaden your horizons in the jobs market
- Better understanding of the job description at the time of transition, improve your decision making and how it will all impact your career path in the future
- Move quickly to a position of responsibility since you already possess the necessary skills and training
- Make better-informed choices about your earning potential and help you achieve that
The steps to career planning
As with planning for any situation, the first step is to gather information. You need to know your resources, limitations and context before you begin to execute the plan. At the beginning, there will be a lot of introspection and exploration of interests, opportunities, obstacles, values and your environment. Once you have awareness of yourself and your surroundings, you can plan your goals more effectively and work towards them one step at a time. It will also help you draw and understand feedback from your environment that can be used to correct your course of action as and when required.
These steps will help you in defining your goals and drawing a career plan for yourself -
- List out the problem areas, and the choices you would like to make in the short, medium and long-term
- Gather as much information as you can about each of these
- Evaluate and Introspect to delve deeper into each of identified problems and choices to look for potential solutions
- Reflect on each of these solutions, evaluate them, implement them and keep reviewing them periodically
Career is not a short term proposition, it is a lifelong event and a commitment. It requires a broad perspective on the short, medium and long-term planning, how all of those come together and allows you to improvise when needed. Career planning, like time, has only one direction to flow - forward. It is a continuous process that every professional needs to learn to follow throughout their career. It must cover a broad perspective with their interests, values, skills and preferences to find a balance between life, work, and learning that address their personal and professional goals. In short, career planning ensures success of an individual by providing him with a roadmap to follow.