Okay, you've got the job. Now what? Remember that a job is much more than a paycheck; it's a path. In this section, we show you how to set job goals and navigate your future.
Map your Success
Okay, you've got the job. Now what? Remember that a job is much more than a paycheck; it's a path, and one that can lead to promotions, bigger paychecks and even a lifelong career.
But, unlike most paths, you yourself play a large role in determining where it leads. This becomes an enormous benefit if you know how to take advantage of it, rather than just letting the river carry you along.
- It may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how often this needs repeating: If you're going to work toward some goals, then you have to know what they are. This is more than just "I want to be a big shot" or "I want to earn more money", but rather mastering a new type of software or learning basic bookkeeping.
- The goals you set can be job positions available in your current company -- that way, you can identify the skills you'll need to take on that responsibility when the time comes, and even incorporate the training into your current position. (Talk to your supervisor about what you want to learn; most will be happy to give you a bit of extra work.)
- But, at the same time, the goals you set can be for other companies as well: many jobs are also stepping-stones to greater work, and it should always be an option to "promote yourself" into a better job at a different company. Loyalty is certainly a virtue, but so is advancement.
- Set short-term goals to help you get to where you want to be. For instance, plan on giving yourself three months to master software used at your company or give yourself three months to learn how to manage a warehouse. Be disciplined in making your deadlines.
- Your long-term goals, where you'd like to be two, three or even 10 years from now, should be ambitious, but also possible. For instance, it's unrealistic to think you can jump from answering phones at your local vet to becoming a veterinarian within three years. However, with hard work, it's definitely possible in five or 10.
- Focus on the long-term You should always have a long-term destination in mind, even if it changes over time. Otherwise, you'll never know if it's time to adjust your path. The truth is that in life, you won't always know whether the direction you're moving is right or wrong, but it should always be forward.
- The two most important qualities in setting goals and moving forward are 1. Motivation, and 2. Confidence. Phrases like "not now," "I can't" and "I give up" should be stricken from your vocabulary. The world has probably done enough already to conspire against your success; it doesn't help you to join the conspiracy.
In setting and achieving goals, time can sometimes be your enemy, but it can also be your friend. Take advantage of the time you have now, so you can hit the milestones of your long-term goals that much sooner. Don't have the time? Then make the time. Nobody else is going to do it for you.
Click here to help you learn how to go the extra mile at your new job: Take Initiative.