If you don?t know where you?re going, anywhere will be your destination
This quote speaks to me on so many different levels. I decided to write about career aspirations because I have been really nave about this aspect of my life. I recently came to terms with the fact that even though I knew the industry in which I wanted to work, I did not know the role that I wanted to play in that industry or the path in which I wanted my career to follow.
My excuse for being nave was that nothing in life is certain, hence even if I had a plan, it would most likely not work out. However, I recently got to meet the head of HR in one of the top pharma companies in Nigeria; he asked me what my career aspiration was and I blurted something out. Apparently what I said was not an aspiration of any kind and if he was displeased with my answer, he didn’t show it. Thankfully, that wasn?t an interview, it was just a casual meeting. He however encouraged me to go ahead and think about it.
Speaking of career aspiration, your career aspiration is the path in which you want your career to follow. It helps define what you need from your work. I recently bagged a Master?s degree in Medical Biotechnology and Business management so I was always shouting that I want to work in the Pharmaceutical industry. It did not occur to me that I had to choose a particular niche and have a vision for my career even in that industry because there are many roles in a pharmaceutical company.
Well, I started researching and found out a few things about mapping out your career aspiration which I will be talking about shortly.
I believe that a person?s career aspiration is part of what leads to self actualization. Self actualization refers to what a person?s full potential is and the realization of that potential. It is at the top of Maslow?s hierarchy of needs. This means that if you venture into the wrong career path, you will most likely not feel fulfilled even after you have worked for a long period of time.
?What a man can be, he must be?- Abraham Maslow
Some career aspirations are fueled by wanting more money whilst others are fueled by passion. You could aspire to be a manager or you could aspire to be a consultant in which case your job would be to go out and share the knowledge you have gained from being an expert in a particular field. If you enjoy overcoming new challenges and learning new things, you could also move to a new career path or start your own company.
As long as you have a career, you should have an aspiration for your career. Even if you own your company, a good career aspiration would be to make the company bigger, create sustainable products and aim for a successful retirement. Aspirations give you the ?ginger? to achieve your goals. Goals are quite similar to aspiration, however, they are more definite and result-oriented. Goals take a shorter time to achieve. Aspirations could be termed ?long term goals?.
While writing this article, I decided to engage other people in the ?Career aspiration? talk and find out how they knew which career path it was that they wanted to take, so I ?threw? the question to my Twitter followers.
I got two different but similar answers, one of which was a Career Decision Chart which pretty much sums every thing I have been talking about in this article.
The other answer was just a practical example of the chart.
The bottom-line is that when thinking about your career aspiration, you need to:
Ask yourself questions
Ask: ?What do I consider important in life??, ?what is it that I like to do??, ?which work areas am I good at??, ?which work areas am I not good at?? ?what are my strengths and weakness as a person??
Map out an individual development plan
Once you have recognized your career aspiration, begin to map out an individual development plan. Set personal goals and write them down. Ask yourself, where do I see myself in the next five years? ten years?
Evaluate your Resume
Does your Resume look qualified for the role you are aspiring to have? Your current Resume shows you where you are and how far you need to go to accomplish the career which you aspire for. Strive to do something that will enrich your Resume to tend you more towards that career aspiration you want.
The aim of this article was to spur a discussion on career aspirations and create an environment to talk more about it. I know that people have different journeys to finding out what their career path should be and it is not as straight forward as it seems, however, we have to evaluate and prepare ourselves so that when an opportunity presents itself, we will be ready.
With these few points of mine, I hope I have been able to convince and not confuse you that? ^_^