Imagine that you're planning a road trip or a vacation. Surely, in preparation, one of the first things you would you do is chart out the journey keeping in mind the stops you’ll take and the detours you may need to make on your way to the final destination. You are also likely to have a plan in place to tackle unexpected surprises that may come up. If this is something you are likely to do for a vacation, why would you not plan your professional life?
Career planning is important for every professional at every stage in their professional journey. And while everyone should allocate time and energy into it, it is even more crucial for women. It’s true that women have come a long way in terms of equality and equity in the workplace, but it’s also a fact that more women than men have to deal with twists and turns in their work life. For starters, women go on maternity leave. They are also most likely to shoulder the majority of responsibility when it comes to rearing children, housework, and unpaid labour outside the workplace. As such, it is crucial that you as a working women is cognizant of these possible interruptions and that you have a practical, actionable career plan in mind to deal with them. A key to success is career planning will help you have a clear path, allow you to plan for life changes that might otherwise derail your progress, and help you to stay on track as your career and personal life progress.
Have an End Goal in Mind
How to plan career growth starts with a simple but imperative step: have a goal. Where do you want to be 10, 15, and 20 years from now? No matter what it is you want to do, it’s integral that you have a plan.
More than that, however, it’s important that you have a basic roadmap for how you're going to get there. If you want to be a lawyer, for instance, what education and experience do you need to accomplish that? Just as importantly, you also need to factor in other non-career goals that you'd like to achieve as well, such as:
- Owning a home
- Getting married
- Having children
- Becoming involved in the community
Plan the Education and Training You'll Need Accordingly (And Cultivate the Talents You'll Need to Achieve Your Goals)
Most career goals will require some form of education, formal training, or relevant experience, and the first step to achieving your goal is to obtain the education/skills that will qualify you for the job. Once you have your career goals set, look into what it will take to get you there, and make a plan to accomplish it.
Education and training isn't just important for the career you want, but also for the career you could end up loving more, even if it wasn’t what you expected. In other words, never turn down an opportunity to learn a new skill, hone a new talent, or train in a different field.
Don’t Be Afraid to Strike Out on Your Own
Ask and you shall receive! Women often find it hard to ask for things, whether it's a business opportunity or a salary raise. Asking for what you want in a gracious, thoughtful way often results in getting what you want. Sometimes though asking is not enough. Sometimes you may need to put your fears aside and take what you need. And maybe what you need is your own business.
If you have reached an impasse in your career that you simply don’t know how to overcome, you may want to consider becoming an entrepreneur. Sometimes it is indeed the perfect answer. The good news is that once you’ve got education, training, experience, and a multitude of talents under your belt, you don’t always need to rely on somebody else to find professional success.
If you want to explore going into business for yourself, read our blog on How to Come Up With Innovative, Feasible Business Ideas That Can Bring You Success.
Either way, whether business ownership was part of your career plan from the beginning or something you’ve stumbled upon, it may be the perfect opportunity for you to become your own boss, gain control over your time and your professional career, and find the perfect combination of success and work-life balance. Don’t stay unhappy, take the right steps to releasing yourself from professional stagnation. Start with downloading this eBook!