There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes something like this: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.”
What’s the point? It’s ideal if you started career planning years ago, but even if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start planning for the future.
Whether you’re about to graduate and get a degree or you’re going to school after a long absence, you can set yourself up for success. Here are some tips that will help.
Research Career Options
Going to school to get a degree is a fine career path, but it’s not the only one. With the ongoing shortage of skilled trade workers across the US, companies are desperate for qualified tradesmen. In some areas, plumbers, carpenters, and machinists are easily making six-figure salaries.
Meanwhile, the “gig work” and remote work culture is booming. You’re no longer stuck working a rigid 9-to-5 schedule in one locale. Many career options allow you to work where and when you want, giving you full control of your income.
For example, engineers used to be stuck in the same office working for the same company for 40 years. Not anymore! Freelance engineering allows engineers to take short-term contract work and do what they love — without sacrificing their freedom.
Determine Your Priorities
Like most of us, you probably have a long list of career and personal goals you hope to accomplish. And, like most of us, you probably won’t have enough time to do it all.
Start planning for the future by sitting down and making a list of your biggest goals. These might include:
- Finishing or returning to school
- Getting a degree
- Starting your own business
- Better work-life balance
- Getting married and/or starting a family
- Moving to a new city, state, or country
- Mastering a foreign language
Now place numbers beside each of these goals to determine its importance in your life. Those items that rank #1, #2, and #3 should receive the most time and attention in your daily routine.
Share your goals (both short-term and long-term) with your family and friends. Surround yourself with support, and the results will come.
Set Small Achievable Goals
Speaking of goals, you need to start small. The quickest way to overwhelm yourself and get off track is to try to do too much, too soon. Try to avoid an “all or nothing” attitude and strive to find balance.
For example, are you trying to boost your savings account? Rather than swearing to never go to Starbucks again, why not change your weekday routine to a weekend treat? If you only spend $5 a week for coffee instead of $25, you’ll save a staggering $1,040 in one year!
Use this same principle to set small, attainable goals in other areas of your life. You’ll be amazed by how much these tiny changes make a big difference.
It’s Never Too Soon to Start Planning for the Future
Wherever you are in the career planning process, rest assured that there are more options now than ever before. Make it your goal to start planning for the future today and set yourself up for a lifetime of success!
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Also read about: 5 Effective Money Management Tips for Newly Self-Employed Workers