An article in the Harvard Business Review questions if career plans might do more harm than good. This is based on the assumption that because things are constantly changing, it doesn’t make sense to map out an exact route to get to where you want to be.
For example, you may not know what job you’ll have in five years, but you can safely say what’s important to you. Is it a future in network marketing? Is it managing a team? Is it leading training sessions? Your desires should lead you in the right direction.
The writer suggests the following, in simple terms:
- Determine your desire.
- Take a step toward it.
- Incorporate what you learn from taking that step.
- Take another step.
- Learn from that one.
- Repeat until you have a job, your own business, or have achieved your goal.
In a nutshell: first figure out a direction; then formulate a strategy to get you there that’s flexible enough to keep you open to opportunities in line with your goal.
Think of it this way (in a very simple scenario). You want to get to a museum on other side of town by the end of the day. You have a map and a general idea of the direction (e.g. north-west). Would you carry around maps, a compass, and schedules of all buses and trains headed that way? What if the bus was re-routed? What if whilst at the station, you saw a poster for another museum with equally interesting exhibits?
Plans are good, as long as they’re flexible enough to give you space to evolve, grow and explore other opportunities.