A recipe for career planning - one ingredient should never be forgotten
Planning as a guide
To what extent a career can still be planned today is a mystery. Too many factors play a role; today's globalised world is too volatile. Nevertheless, I am intentionally arguing here that designing a career is still an important tool. Planning one's career forces one to look at one's aspirations and motivation for one's professional life. It makes me think about fundamental questions such as whether I want to work in an international environment, aspire to a leadership role or see myself as the CEO of a start-up company. These reflections help me define my orientation points for the next steps.
Fascination and interests as a basis
An important part of answering career planning questions involves thinking about what fascinates and drives me. What can I occupy myself with for hours on end without getting sick of it? What do I regularly forget the time about? What makes me feel good or challenged? What makes me proud? Such questions help to define important mosaic stones for shaping one's own career. It is therefore worthwhile not just to formulate a rough objective such as "I see myself as CEO of a tech start-up". Instead, take the opportunity to reflect on your own fundamental interests.
Skills and knowledge as a tool
Once you have made a basic plan for your own career and your fascination and interests are known, you can define the skills needed to turn the plan into reality. What can I already do quite well? In what should I further my education? A professional career is not based solely on knowledge acquired over the years. Skills such as a friendly way of communicating are just as important. It is therefore worthwhile to become aware of this treasure as a valuable resource and to complement it in a targeted way.
Serendipity as a reliable but unknown helper
Finally yet importantly, something that tends to be forgotten comes into play: happenstance. Whether my dream job will actually be available at time X, when I have completed my further education, have been in position Y for at least 4 years and project Z completes its first milestone, is not something you should rely on. Nevertheless, good preparation and awareness of planning, motivation and skills help to be open and to recognise when chance strikes.
It pays to be well prepared and then not to forget the unknown helper in addition to your own ingredients.