Sunday, March 08, 2015
Career Design, Not Career Planning
Please, give up Career Planning.
This whole idea of planning, setting goals, defining activities and timelines, moving towards it step by step, is so dated. It used to be useful when one knew where to go. All those advices about beginning with the end in mind, fine on paper, but do not work any more when things change so much, so fast.
The talk of Career Planning, however well-meaning, is always misdirected, and possibly harmful. Indeed, one can plan near term - for that next job, or to get a skill - but this assumption that you can plan your next twenty years, a whole career, is itself based on the flawed assumption that one can predict the world well in advance. This is the mistake most well-intentioned parents make when they push their children down the career paths they themselves took, or in some cases, those they wished they had taken. Such reliance on planning closes down the opportunities of exploration, of chance opportunities, of continuous learning, and often leads to dead ends.
I am not suggesting one should not think about career and do nothing about it, and just let things happen. I am only suggesting that career is such a multi-dimensional, fast changing, in-the-future thing that planning is not that useful. It is much more rewarding to think about something like Career Design, which does not depend on parameters and formulas of the past, but, as all designers do, depend on observed behaviour. It is about making the effort to know what exactly various careers mean, what people do in those roles, how they have got there - and not just take their word for it! This is developing an observant behaviour towards others, networking widely and gaining knowledge about the world of work and all the things that come with it. It is not an half-an-hour exercise with a career counsellor, but something more persistent and something more multi-dimensional.
By doing this, hopefully, someone learns how one gets along in the career - and this is not about absorbing some formula, but learning continuously and changing behaviour. This can prepare the observer for all twists and turns, and also develop an approach to change and uncertainty. This indeed needs to be a guided process, all design processes are, but the emphasis should be on observation, engagement and behaviour, and not on formula, activity and deadlines.
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the...
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are ...
There are two reasons why I am writing this post, which is really a retake of an earlier post - Should Britain Apologise? - which I recen...
There is no longer an automatic progression from higher education to work. There was perhaps never was one, but usually the jobs that need...
Calcutta Coffee House - Famed but Forgotten One of the key arguments in favour of urbanisation is that cities can be creative and inno...
2016 has been a watershed year for many 'Liberals' - with its paradigm shifting events such as Brexit and Trump - but the writing ...
Italy recently apologised to Libya for its occupation of the country between 1911 and the Second Word War and offered an investment deal of...
As much as we, expats, try to deny it, we are at an inflexion point. The great global wave of migration, that set off in the 90s and that ...
Introduction “Nationalism is a doctrine invented in Europe at the beginning of Nineteenth Century” is the opening statement of Elie Kedo...
University making in India is entering a new phase. The rushed expansion of the Higher Education system is perhaps over, with many of thos...
How To Live
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Theodore Roosevelt
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T S Eliot
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.