In an age of evolving industries and growing automation, the concept of a “job for life” has become increasingly elusive.
For some, that’s a great weight lifted: No more worrying that you’ll be stuck doing a job you hate for the next 30 years — something else will come along, right? But for those looking to plan their career path, the shifting landscape can look daunting.
However, even in a changing world it’s still possible to reach your career goals and this can be achieved if you choose to work backward in your anticipated career journey. All you have to do is to look at your career outside in, or long to short.
If your life plan is to be a succesfull entrepreneur when you hit the age of 40, then you’ll soon realise that there are certain sets of skills you will need to make sure you acquire by the time you’re 30 or 35.
By thinking about the kind of job or venture you’d ultimately like to have aged 40 or 50, and then working out the role you would need to be in and the skills you would need to develop to get there helps you to have increamental work cycles of around 5 years.
You will realise that as you work back, you start getting a range of possibilities about the exposure and experience you need to have to qualify for the next thing.
Some of those exposures and experiences can be “very disparate,” ranging from subject matter expertise to working across different geographies and they can be incorporated at various stages.
By planning your career in this manner, you will avoid the temptation of trying to do everything at once which ultimately fails. Instead you end up executing your career development plan in a much more systematic way. You basically shape your own career.
It’s really more about what you need to develop in yourself over a period of time, more than exactly what role you want in a particular context.
When should you consider a career change?
It is also a wise practice especially when you contemplate changing careers to opt to getting a range of different experiences in different areas, whether at the same organization or different ones.
Take time right from the first day in your new job to fully understand the organization and to also have a fairly good sense of what you would like to do next. Do not leave it till the last minute when you have to do things in a rush.
Once you have a good picture of what it is you would wish to do and achieve, then reach out to the relevant stakeholders in the organization and share your dream – talk to your boss, HR and possibly your in-house coach in order to get their support and counsel.