Career choices: Aligning your career decisions to your goals, a case study

Steve Kimmens Career goals Leave a Comment

New opportunities in your career are constantly popping up. Make career choices easy with clearly defined career goals and criteria for the work you are doing. Here’s how Jess’ career plan made her career choices clearer.

Why writing down your goals will make career choices much easier

Being offered a promotion is flattering. Testing yourself in a new job can be rewarding. When these opportunities come around you need to ask yourself is will this career choice help me achieve my goals?

“Key question: will this career choice help me achieve my goals?”

To make your goals clear, write them down. Use our five year plan template to make it easy to see if a career choice will help you achieve your goals. Here’s a case study where I did that for a client.

Career choices case study: Jess a Management Consultant

Jess is a successful Management Consultant. She is great at what she does and has been progressively made her way up in the organisation.

Jess works at one of the big three management consulting firms – Bain & Co, Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Company.

Furthermore, she has the lifestyle to match, with 5 hours of sleep and not finishing at work before 2am in the last week (there are people who are seriously addicted to this lifestyle).

Jess is about to go away for a year’s secondment to a global not-for-profit and help them financial modelling in climate change policies.

First step: What do you want to achieve?

I sat with her to understand what her career plan was, I asked her what are the goals you would like to achieve?

“I want to make a difference in climate change, a real difference,” Jess shared.

She has clear goals and she believes she could achieve those goals in a global multinational, such as Google, or in her own consulting firm.

Second step: What are you willing to do for work to get to your goal?

My next question is to understand her criteria for work, what she is willing to do.

“I want to live in cities, which have access to nature. I want to earn a certain minimum of money and I want to be delivering outcomes in my work,” explained Jess.

The criteria helps us to map our Jess’ career choices.

Third step: Map out Jess’ career journey with her criteria and goals

Because Jess has a clear goal and clear criteria we can quickly put together her 5 year career plan.

Since she wants to earn good money, her first step will be finding a role in a corporate organisation. That first step will be an entry into the organisation. So she will need a way in because it is unlikely she will be hired as the Head of Sustainability.

The second step of her plan is then to move into a global organisation where she has a global or regional role. If she reaches that level it should open doors to a Google size and reach organisation.


Career choices: A plan will make your decisions easier

Jess: “After my secondment the consulting firm will offer me a team leader role. I’ll probably come back and do that.”

I asked why? Career choices only make sense if they are moving you towards your goals.

While being promoted into a challenging role for more money is attractive, it wouldn’t help Jess get to her goal.

Jess needs to avoid being sucked back in by the organisation. She needs to remain focused on her goals and how she is going to achieve them.

Use our goals template to help you make your career choices and read more about deciding what you want from your career and job.


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