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career goals

Image by Sira Anamwong, via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s a fact, not simply a cliché – what you know today will not be enough to take you to where you need to go tomorrow! This is true in your career and life.

Whether we like it or not, job roles grow, develop into new roles, and sometimes are even eliminated and replaced by something that didn’t exist before. You can’t afford to assume that doing a good job means you have job security. Time doesn’t stand still, and neither will your job. You are not helping yourself or the organization if you are not looking for ways to grow. And a lot of that has to do with predicting how you think your job will change in coming years.

But what if you aren’t concerned with how your job will change because you aren’t sure where you want to be in five to 10 years? After all, our passions and interests do evolve. If you don’t know where you want to be in a decade, start by listing 10 or so job titles that intrigue you. These might be job titles that have nothing to do with your current job, or they might be within your own department and in the same area of focus, just a different role (just know that if the job title is not within your expertise, you are truly exploring a new focus, one you most likely will not be able to move into right away).

Look at your list and highlight the five job titles that most interest you. From that five, circle the two that interest you most. Now comes the fun part – getting to truly understand those roles. The best place to start is to talk with people currently doing the job in which you’re interested. You can never get a more accurate account of what the job is like than when you talk with someone who is doing it! By this simple process of talking to others, you’ll likely gather enough information about what you would need to do to be considered for the position, so write everything down! Put together a list of certifications, skill sets, or even more schooling if that’s required for you to take this career path.

But make sure that the payoff for what you are pursuing is worth the effort. What I mean is that you need to be certain that most of the duties, skills and goals associated with this role are things that will give you energy. Just having the ability to do the job isn’t enough. Measure it against the personal branding statements you created. Since your brand is about what comes naturally to you (your “DNA”) you want to make sure it’s not far off. If you do indeed decide to pursue something new, hopefully you have a manager who won’t take it personally, especially if the change would mean a transfer within your current organization. There are guidelines within every organization about requesting a transfer, so make sure you play by the rules and follow the guidelines provided by your HR department. You don’t want to burn any bridges!

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, check out my book, RINGMASTER.