Careers are complex - why you should take the time to plan.

Careers are complex - why you should take the time to plan.

An excellent article recent on career planning in the Harvard Business Review - “How to embrace Complex Change” reminds us that big career transitions are now a fact of life. So is the need to constantly adapt to new technologies, work groups, strategies, and ways of thinking and behaving. And yet even high-fliers find personal change difficult. Whether you’re a high-flier, or a low-flier supported by the occasional gust of wind, this is because you almost certainly are not investing enough time in thinking through your career.

The perfect career won’t just happen; you are responsible for your own destiny. Sadly, most people spend more time planning their next holiday than they spend planning their next career move. This has always been hard to fathom – and even more so as careers are becoming more complicated. Career management is rapidly becoming a life skill that we should all develop.

Your plan doesn’t have to be set in stone. We change and grow so the plan has to change and flex - and sometimes it has to be rewritten altogether. But if you don’t have a plan you don’t have much chance of success. I’d suggest you adopt a learning mindset, seeing yourself as a “skills and knowledge investor”. Assess your career and where you want to be; evaluate what the best candidate for your ideal role looks like; decide how you stack up and plan to close any gap between where you are and where you want to be.

It's well worth the time and trouble to do all this. As Winston Churchill said: “If you find a job you love, you’ll never work again” and I firmly believe he was right. If you can find a role that is right for you that constitutes career success and that time you spent planning it all will have been a very small price to pay.

Michael Moran is founder and CEO of 10Eighty - a business committed to delivering success through people.

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