Career Planning: To Be Effective Get This Right!
Career planning can take many forms. It might have started in high school when you observed you favorite uncle doing well as an accountant. Or maybe a college career counselor steered you into a growing industry. Perhaps, after working a few years a friend recommended you for an open position in the company where they worked.
Maybe planning your career was the realization one day that you had to keep abreast of what was happening in your career and you planned to read a few appropriate books.
And just maybe you wrote out a detailed plan, build a method to upgrade your skills, researched a viable career path, added some flexibility to keep aware of possible career changes and periodically reviewed your career progress.
For a career plan to be effective you have to get this right. It’s like building a vehicle and neglecting to put in a fuel tank. The vehicle may look great, the paint will attract attention, and it may have the latest in technological advances but bottom line: without a fuel tank it’s no better than a great looking lawn decoration.
The fuel of you career plan is a robust financial plan. If you plan to add to your skills and you do not have the financial resources to pay for the tuition or spend the funds to attend an important career related conference you career plan will be stalled.
If you discover a business opportunity and you don’t have the funds or the credit record to finance the purchase your career frustration will climb off the charts.
A few years back an engineering graduate and his wife decided they would live at a modest level and as he moved up the career ladder and would save and invest everything above an agreed upon income level. He reached the CEO level of a large company but he and his family continued to live in a home and spend more like one of his company’s mid-level managers.
An opportunity arose where a company was selling a unit in which this executive had a great deal of experience. He was able to purchase this multi-million dollar operation, with his own funds and borrow the balance because of his impeccable credit record.
You may not get to the CEO level of a large corporation, few do, but opportunities are all around us. A small company comes across your radar screen; you see the chance to make it better and more profitable. A hard to sell piece of real estate is lingering on the market, the seller is motivated, and you see opportunity.
You become interested in a franchise opportunity and you have the financial resources to make it successful. All become possible because of the financial planning that you have incorporated into your career plan.
There is another big advantage of a robust financial plan that works hand-in-hand with your career plan. As your financial resources increase, you have no outstanding debts, except for a small mortgage on your primary residence, your career flexibility climbs. Changing careers now becomes possible; even if you have to take a cut in income because you have the financial resources to fill the income gap.
Moreover, without a heavy burden of debt, you are less concerned about keeping you job. You can take positions that might be unpopular but are right for the business. This is a recipe for rapid career advancement.
So in developing your career plan don’t neglect the financial aspect. Your well-developed financial planning will be the fuel that moves your career plan forward. And isn’t that’s what career planning is all about, advancing your career or putting you in position to make a proper career change at the right time.
By John Groth