Thursday, February 01, 2007

Career Planning a Waste of Time?

The author of this post thinks Career Planning is Time Wasted. I agree with the research cited, and the argument is well articulated -- people are notoriously bad at predicting what will make them unhappy -- but I'm not so sure that it translates into all planning being a waste of time. When you're choosing to pursue something instead of something else, you're doing a type of planning, and you might as well choose a general direction (maybe a field, or area of interest, or type of activity) that suits what you're currently enjoying or curious about -- for me, that's all planning is.

There seems to be this idea that career planning for high school students is about picking the exact job description you'll be employed in six or eight years down the road...and if that's the case, I'd have to agree with this assessment that it's a waste of time. It's not about the end goal; it's about process: finding meaningful tasks, developing skills, and building connections in an area of interest that will likely become sustainable work if you really care about it.

This is probably too critical -- I hadn't seen this excellent blog before and probably shouldn't take issue with a single post when there were so many other good ones...oh, well.


Rob said...

Hi J
I liked this post. At 56 it is clear to me that much of where I went seemed accidental.

Wherer there was some direction was in having Intention.

At 22 my intnetion was to separate from my parents - Ineeded disyance and money to do that. Investment banking offered me that.

At 27, with 2 kids I wanted to return to England - shifting my career to the international stream would do that and within 2 years I was back home.

At 35 I was bored with the day to day of trading and felt that I needed bigger challenges - I began to get more involved with managing.

At 38 I was back in Canada putting the CIBC Wood Gundy Merger together - I could go on and on. The process seemed to involve a growing feeling of staleness and then a call to more complexity. ThenI would usually mneet a person who would open the door - I had to be ready though.

Now at 56, I seek not more complexity but more simplicity. My property and all the nature in it calls me. I seek to work with individuals not organizations. I see my death just around the corner and it adds a spice and an urgency.

So while I would never have known at 22 that I could have landed here as my intention became clear and as I then looked for my guide - the next door would open.

So as the years rolled on a trajectory for my life became clear that could never happen for a younger Rob.

Jeremy said...

Hi Rob! Thanks so much for sharing your story in this context. It is fascinating to see someone's path emerge in retrospect. I think you're right that most of us have our career development driven by accidents and things we stumble into, perhaps with occasional forks when we really do choose intentionally for whatever reason.