Career Advice for Long Term Success
Many of us have a dream or a goal that we are striving towards. So what happens when we fall short of our long term goals? Maybe you have been focused on one goal for so long, that you have become disappointed with the lack of results. It seems that many young people get discouraged by this process as they work through high school or college. It is easy to list the traits of the perfect job, spouse, or home, but getting from square one to “perfect” can prove to be quite the challenge.
If you find yourself or someone you know in this situation, I suggest the following:
1. Calibrate your expectations. Occasionally our expectations are simply unrealistic. Ask any college freshman what their plans are after graduation, and they might respond with a six figure salary and a full time job (all without having previous job experience). Many of them are not considering the unemployment rate, the competitive job market of their field, or the availability of jobs in their area of specialty. Once a student graduates and is smacked with this realization, they easily become discouraged.
2. Set short term goals. Again, most find it easy to name a long term goal, but have no idea where to start in achieving that goal. In order to create a plan including short term goals, meet with peers or professionals that have achieved similar goals. Many professionals allow shadowing or offer internships to gain insight into their field. You may find that the people you speak with have made avoidable mistakes, or you might end up building a relationship that can support your future goals. Also, a little research can go a long way as many companies post job openings, average salary, and minimum job requirements on their websites.
3. Always work as though you are being watched. Many valuable observations can be made in your place of work, at school, or even on social media without your awareness. It is important to strive for excellence in everything. We are reminded in Luke 16:10, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” In what seemingly small opportunities can you prove that you are trustworthy and faithful?
Think about an athlete training to run a marathon. His long term goal is to run 26.2 miles. His first run might only be one or two miles, but then he will slowly discipline himself to run further. With hard work he will find himself running even further until he accomplishes his goal. His smaller goals will give him a starting point, and allow him to celebrate many milestones on his way to success.
If you aren’t sure what your long term goal is, choose to be focused where you are now. Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”