Career Planning – What to Do If Your Job Is not What You Want to Do

In professional sports, football especially, there's a maxim: Failing to plan is planning to fail. This applies to several fields of endeavor, from military careers to project management – which is all about planning and resource allocation.

It is also a critical aspect of meeting your career goals. A large number of people, college graduates and not, sort of stumble through life going from job to job, and never actually focusing on having a career. The difference between a job and a career is not just silly solipsism, it's also a function of doing what makes you happy, and doing what makes you satisfied with the work that you do.

If you do not happen to be one of those people for whom office dronery is a satisfying career choice, or one of those handicfuls of souls for what working in a call center is your spiritual calling, it's time to take stock in what you do , what you enjoy doing , and what sorts of training you'll need to be able to make a living doing what you enjoy.

It may be that you can not earn the kind of money you need doing what you enjoy. However, if you can plan your training and your life around getting a job that will pay you well, historically you can cut back your hours of employment to work on the things you love to do.

For example, if you're good with computers, and detail oriented, possibly skipping college in favor of getting training as a systems administrator would serve you in good stead. If you're good with your hands, getting trained as a machinist can make you decent money and give you the satisfaction of doing something that requires skill.

Too many people think career planning is all about maximizing income potential. It's not. It's about maximizing life potential; getting an income you can live on is part of that – but do not, for example, guide yourself onto a career path you're going to hate. I've known several stock brokers whoave up seven figure jobs after two or three years because they hated the stress and the pace of it.

On the other hand, not having a career plan will more or less doom you to doing office work for middle managers straight out of a television program, or a life straight out of a Dilbert cartoon.

When doing your career planning – even if the current job is one that is not what you want to do for the rest of your working life – look at it from the perspective of "What from this experience will I be able to put on a resume to get a better job down the road? " Even being a manager at a restaurant gives you an experience in working with others that can be leveraged to other positions down the road. If your job offers any kind of training, keep that in mind; they can not take the skills you gain when you leave.

Finally, remember that most employers hire for talent and train for skills. Emulate this, and you'll be able to follow your career plan to your dreams.