7 Ways to Aim High and Set the Right Career Goals for 2019
As 2018 comes to a close, many of us are beginning to think about resolutions for the new year. While a lot of resolutions center around losing weight, exercising more, or quitting an unhealthy habit, we’re of a mind that 2019 is the year to focus your goals and energies on your career. After all, what’s more important than loving — and excelling at — what you do? To help you do that, we’ve put together a few tips to help you reflect on 2018 and aim high for your career in 2019.
Look back at your career journey in 2018. What did you like and not like about your job? Where did you thrive? Where did you struggle? Then, look ahead: Which of the things that you did last year do you want to do more of? Less of? What do you want your career to look like at this time next year? Use these reflections to inform your goals.
One way to set the right goals is to use the SMART model: every goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This is a great framework, but it’s important to understand that “specific” doesn’t mean getting your mind set on one specific path to your dreams. The world is unpredictable, and you’ll encounter unexpected challenges and opportunities. Be open to them, while still keeping your eye on what matters most to you.
Think beyond what you’ve been told you can do.
Society forms a lot of our perceptions of what we can and cannot accomplish. This can be especially true when it comes to women in the workplace — and even more relevant with regard to women in technical roles. It’s one of the factors that has contributed to the sad reality that only 25% of computing jobs are held by women, and for tech leadership jobs, the number is only 5%. But the fact is, the belief that women can’t succeed in tech jobs is totally false. Women-led companies perform three times better than those with male CEOs, and women are way more in tune with tech: they use the internet 17% more than men, and are lead adopters of new technology. This is all to say, throw away your ideas of what roles or sectors you can pursue, and set your ambitions high!
Don’t let your non-work duties limit you.
If you have a family, you might assume that certain jobs or roles are unavailable to you because of your responsibilities at home. Again, women are normally saddled with these assumptions, as the majority of domestic duties tend to fall to them. Fortunately, the idea that having a family prevents you from climbing the ladder at work is disappearing, with more and more companies making it easier to balance your home life and work. For example, companies like Deloitte and Netflix offer lengthy paid parental leave (for Netflix, it’s unlimited!), while EY offers flexible work-from-home arrangements as well as more informal flexibility to allow you to, for instance, duck out of work for a doctor’s appointment or arrive later than usual if you have carpool duty. Some companies even offer on-site childcare. The takeaway is this: your responsibilities at home should not be a factor in setting your career goals for 2019!
Turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Take a closer look at the things that you consider your pitfalls and try to cast them in a different light. How might they serve you? For instance, being “too sensitive” might be a quality that gives you greater empathy, equipping you to excel in a role where you need to manage people or handle delicate situations.
Many of us, especially women, have been taught to be grateful for what’s given to us and not push too hard for anything more. We have an internalized fear that if we do, we’ll lose everything. But the truth is, that’s not how it works in the business world, and the people who get the most competitive roles and wages are those who assert themselves and fight for their worth. Go into your negotiation confident of your value, and ask to be compensated fairly. You deserve it.
Don’t wait for things to happen — make them happen.
Nobody is going to deliver you your career goals on a silver platter. You’re the one who needs to take charge of your destiny and go out there to make them happen; and almost always, that means taking some risks and trying something new. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll end up where you’ve always been, as they say. If going after your big goal feels too overwhelming, then break it down into smaller goals, then break those down into even smaller goals until you have manageable micro-tasks to accomplish every day, each of which brings you closer to your dream.
We hope these tips will help you set ambitious career goals for the upcoming year, and get you in the mindset to fulfill your professional potential in 2019.