Congratulations! Most people never think about how their career pursuit aligns with their values.
They will not prepare a plan and break it down into actionable, manageable steps. You already have a competitive edge and are in the top 10% of pursuing a career.
Few people will prepare a plan, act on that plan, and it will come to about exactly as designed. One of the things I have learned in my process of chasing my career dreams is that the actual career path I have taken is a different route than I planned. If you talk to a number of people about their career journey, you will find that the dirty little secret is that your plan, as is, will likely not lead you to your goal or career job.
Once you start the journey, you will get new information. This information will come along in different forms and ways. It comes from experiences you get in internships, informational interviews, etc.
These experiences should be vetted against your passions and purpose of your career goals.
You will learn of different or related opportunities. You will learn of aspects of the career that may be great, bad or completely different than what you understood from your plan. You may find that a job or skill in the career you are interested in will change greatly in the next 10 years. Maybe your life will change. How does this affect your desire to pursue this field? Do you have an interest outside your stated plan? Does your plan factor in the unexpected events?
At best, your plan can only account for the unexpected in a general sense not a specific sense. If you knew from the beginning exactly how this process will turn out, then you could account for this and we don’t know this.
So, why am I asking you to go through the process of doing all the work in steps 1 and 2 of the process? Because this process will be the foundation of your evaluating options, which you realize as you move through this process. If you know what your values are and purpose for your work, then you can vet the new information in relation to the priorities in your career path. You should welcome new information that challenges your plan. You must be prepared to re-evaluate your plan all the time, or at least as much as you see fit. As part of your reevaluation, ask yourself these questions.
1. How does this information or experience relate to my plan? (Support or challenge it)
2. What is my reaction to this information or experience? (Emotionally)
3. Does this information challenge my stated values, purpose, and pursuit of my plan?
4. Should I change my plan and in what way?
If you have to make a change, then you go back to steps 1 and 2 of this process. Continue this process with the revised plan until we get new information or experience that forces us to revisit our plan or accomplish our goals. This is what will move you into the top 5 to 1% in successful people that develop their careers.
My recommendation is to identify the aspect of career that you enjoy and want from your plan. Avoid titles because the details associated with a title will change with time. This is especially true if you are 3-5 years away from completing your goal.
Focus on the developmental process that will prepare for the career that envision. Welcome challenges to your plan from all angles and people. They will help you to change or solidify your plan. Welcome the work as opportunity to get better as long as it is vital to reach your goals. Learn to enjoy the process and stay in the moment. If you focus too much on the future, the things that you should be doing now will not be completed and you will not be ready for the challenges of the future. If you focus on the process, and where are currently in that process, you will get to your destination.
Finally I challenge you to make a lifestyle of this process. It is these people that look back on their careers with fondness. Stay tuned.