plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

September 14, 2007

does a career plan matter?

Filed under: plonkee — plonkee @ 12:00 pm

I enjoy my job, it gives me a lot of satisfaction for various reasons, and I thoroughly recommend that everyone seeks to spend most of their waking time doing something they love. But is career progression really important?

I speak as a person that doesn’t really want to scale the ranks of management. I certainly derive part of my status from my job, but its more a case of reputation in my field that I seek, rather than a better job title. I’m not really motivated by pay either. It would be nice to earn more money, but if that was a major goal of mine, I should have taken a different job. On the other hand, I’m relatively young, so I’ve got quite a lot of working life left in me, and I’m certainly unlikely to be able to retire for a lot more than twenty years. Is working without a plan for that long destined to end in, if not failure, some kind of boring misery?

To what extent is career planning useful anyway? I’ve certainly grown and improved in relation to my work since I left university but without any great plan, and its been organic and enjoyable. In fact whenever I have a performance review, I have things to improve but no sense that an end goal is conceivable let alone necessary. One of the key questions on our previous preparation for review documents was ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’. I have never, ever had any answer to this. In practice, I’m probably doing now what I hoped to be doing when asked five years ago, the same stuff but better and more of it. When I pointed this out to my line manager, he said that it doesn’t make a very professional sounding personal development plan.

Stephen Covey is very popular amongst some managers at my workplace, and one of his tenets is to ‘start with the end in mind’. What do I do, when I don’t have an end goal at all?

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