How to lay career foundations

“When you are equipped with the clarity of your long-term goal along with the model behaviours, you are surely laying strong foundations to your career!” 

Career and life planning are never easy. There is no one-way of going about it either! It is therefore interesting and intriguing to listen to varying perspectives about career foundations. Such diverse views naturally induce a sense of ambiguity leading to dilemmas as to what to do and not do. While there are many career dilemmas, let us discuss a few here.

To plan career or not to plan:

Some are of the view that career happens, you cannot make it. They believe that career is a series of opportunities that you choose to pick up as you pursue your foundations

Such school of thought does not believe in setting long term goals and working towards them. Instead, they recommend constant vigil on the environment to spot every emerging opportunity and then assess if it is to your liking.

For example, take the case of Dev who did his graduation in Biology, then moved over to do Chartered Accountancy and after a few years moved into HR role. It is hard to believe that all this was planned before. Dev kept constantly looking at what interests him at various stages of career and made the moves. Fortunately, all the moves worked for Dev. What if they didn’t?

Concept of free will (the opportunity to decide at will what to do and take it as it comes by) sounds liberating in the first instance; however, it may end up as too much of trial and error which may derail career. As the popular saying goes, “If you don’t know where you want to go, you can take any road”. However, career and life are not so aimless, isn’t it? Such experimentation without a goal will not help in shaping the career. Let us revisit Dev’s case once again. After switching over to Chartered Accountancy from Biology, what if he did not succeed? Would it not be a waste of precious years? Several people are there who struggle to switch the tracks after initially starting somewhere. Some are able to do it successfully like Dev while many fail to make the switch. Therefore, it is prudent to think through as to what one wishes to do in the long-run and accordingly shape the career. The cynics may say that not all the plans will succeed. That is very true. However, that is not a good enough reason not to plan career at all.

Here are the specific suggestions to resolve this dilemma:

  1. Believe that a long-term career goal is a good starting point.
  2. Remember that an appropriate career goal is one that should motivate you continuously; discover what drives you in your career.
  3. Develop a plan to work towards realizing the goal.
  4. One path may not take you to the goal; but that should not make you change your goal; pursue alternate paths.
  5. If the results do not seem to coming even after persistent efforts, be open to re-look at your goal. Seek external help if need be!

To have a role model or not:

Some achievers around us awe many of us. They inspire us so much so that we want to become like them. At the same time, there is a dilemma if one should have role models or one should evolve independently. Once again, the answer to this question is not a clear black and white.

follow the leaderIt is certainly good to identify a person or persons who inspire us. That will constantly motivate us. However, in my personal view, picking one person as the role model and wanting to become like him or her may not be desirable. Instead, look for the characteristics in them that you wish to emulate. In such a case, it is possible to have different people that you adore for different virtues. Instead of role models, you try capturing model behaviours. You will then emerge as an independent person with combined strength of all those characteristics. However, ensure that you emulate features that are beyond physical appearance. It is also important to ensure that the set of role models will guide you towards your long-term career goals.

When you are equipped with the clarity of your long-term goal along with the model behaviours, you are surely laying strong foundations to your career!

Article published in: 

HR Mirror

Hans India

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