I often suggest that people do as I say, not as I do. I encourage others to take their birthdays off and focus on themselves. So, what am I doing on my birthday today–working all day, including a business dinner. But I rationalize that I’m at the point of my career that this must be fun or I wouldn’t be doing it. Nevertheless, I think birthdays are a good time for people to focus on themselves and their careers.
Career planning is critical whether you’re currently employed or looking for a job. You must know where you’re going before you can get there. So, I recommend picking a day each year that you devote to assessing and mapping career goals and what it will take to make them come true.
During a conversation yesterday with executive recruiter and friend Michael Patino, I asked for his top-of-mind recommendations for anyone thinking about self-directed career planning. Michael said most young people don’t know what’s possible, so he suggests seeking insights from individuals who are in the kinds of positions that interest them. “Re-balance career goals every year,” Michael suggests. “Set a time of year when you can focus some clear thinking about career goals–perhaps your birthday or as you sit on the beach during summer vacation.”
Don’t be disappointed if yourself if you’re not meeting career goals, especially in this economy. Remain flexible but always remain focused on where you want to take your career.
Thanks to North Carolina A&T State University Office of Career Services for the above career mapping illustration.