The Career Planning Myth

   Long ago, Richard Bolles wrote, “It is important, before you enter the job hunt, to decide exactly what you are looking for--whether you call it your passion, or your purpose in life, or your mission...Passion first, job-hunt later.”  Fast forward many years and this is still the commonly accepted career guidance wisdom offered by today's gurus as well.  What some completely miss, however, is that knowing exactly what you want to do isn't nearly as important as having the passion to take your life in a direction that achieves your own personal desires.

   What does this really mean? Simply put: Stop worrying about WHAT SPECIFIC CAREER TYPE YOU WANT and think about the life you desire, where your PASSIONS lie, and what kind of life you want to lead. Opportunities that fulfill your criteria will begin presenting themselves. Prospective employers frequently ask "Where do you see yourself in the next __ years?" Job candidates frequently reply in some manner that suggests they've been fantasizing about a long-term position with the company for whom they're interviewing...but, in today's job market, WHAT you do, WHO you want to be... and "WHERE" you see yourself--- are really completely independent variables.  It is worth noting that even Harvard Business Review has pointed out that traditional "career planning" has become a waste of time.  Unless you're heading down a fixed career path like medicine/nursing, you can't plan "where" you want to be in __ years....because --the business world is always changing. Now, more than ever, you need to demonstrate flexibility and show prospective employers WHO want to be __ years--whether or not you are working for them. It's a question of passion and personal desire. When you know THIS, a career that matches your passions & desires will fall into place and you will have the flexibility to change as time goes on.

   Remember: You cannot reasonably formulate a plan to get to a specific "place" in your career but you CAN pinpoint broadly WHO you want to be, what your passions are, and how you see yourself in the future--- Then, the appropriate job opportunities that match your passions & desires will fall into place. However, always be ready for change--even rapid changes in times of economic uncertainty. If your long-term passion remains clear, then changes in the business world will graciously help steer you towards it. Know your destination --and the path you to take to get there will present itself.


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