Are you about to graduate college or university? Starting to think about your future? What’s next? Having researched and written a book on this topic (Available: here), I wanted to share my key learnings and lessons on how to decide your future and make a clear plan for yourself after graduation.
First off, WELCOME to adulthood. It's the club none of us feels ready to join, regardless of our age. And yet we always aspire to be in it. For Halloween and dress up parties, kids have been playing adult characters; policewoman, fireman, doctor, entrepreneur holding a make-believe briefcase. What's the lesson we all took from that? Playing these characters would come easy. We put on the outfit and BOOM, there's the desired outcome.
Unfortunately the real world is not as straightforward. To enter one of these roles takes time, determination and a vision. To be a doctor means years of university (on average 8+ years) and residency (additional 4-7 years). To be an entrepreneur, you must come up with an idea that is captivating, make a business plan, find investors and hire staff, etc. This can take years, even decades in most cases. To be a policewoman going to the police academy and passing tough physical and mental tests over several years. Then once you pass, you have to apply for a position in a highly competitive market.
And everyone gets that. This isn't news. We all know it takes time and hard work to reach our ambitions. But what's the first step straight out of school? Where do we start?
Making a vision for your future is key to your success in the workforce. In life, it’s generally quite hard to go places when you don’t know where you want to go. That's the same for the workforce.
So start by putting your ambitions on a page. Your vision or ambitions might change and form into other shapes as your move forward in your journey. But starting out with a plan and being conscious of what it takes to get there is a valuable exercise and something anyone can easily do!
At Salesforce we have something called the V2MOM. Every year all 75,000+ employees are asked to make their V2MOM, which is basically our vision for the year. This starts with our CEO, Marc Benioff, and goes all the way to our newly hired apprentices. It helps everyone visualise their year and then make a plan to meet it. And that helps to keep the organisation aligned to the desires of its workers. So it's good for Salesforce too.
It’s quite simple to do and can be a simple tool for you to use as you start your career. All you need is to answer a few questions that will help you focus on your vision.
While the tool is simple, it can take some thought and time to figure out the answers. I've found that I can answer these questions better now than I could a decade ago because I've had more time to mull things over and life's a little clearer. So if you find you're not completely comfortable with the results, chill. Set it aside for a few months and come back to it. The last piece of advice I'd share with you is to be bold. Dream big. It's easier to scale down than to later try to upgrade.
What’s your career vision? What do you want from your career? It might be enormous amount of personal satisfaction or it might involve a high degree of time flexibility. How much money do you want to make? What kind of work do you want to be doing? How do you envision doing the work? For example, from home, in an office, out in the field, with a team or more solitary, and so on.
What are your values? What values will you uphold as you move into employment? Create a plan to ALWAYS stay true to yourself and your values. Is it loyalty that drives you? Spirituality? Humility? Or compassion? Honesty? Trust? Kindness? Determination to meet your goals and ambitions? Selflessness? There is an endless list you can put together. Try to uncover your top 5 values!
How you are you going to reach this vision? What are you going to put in place in order to achieve your goal/vision? What needs to happen in order to reach your goal?
What obstacles do you see stopping you from reaching these goals?
How will you measure yourself? How will you know once you have made your vision a reality?!
In summary, do your research before you decide on a career, then create a vision and put down a metric that will help guide you to when you reach your career goal. Most importantly have fun as a career will last over several decades and you're just at the start.
A good starting point might be to look at some of our Trailheads, which is an online Salesforce learning platform that we offer for free. This could potentially help you move in the right direction and uncover different jobs that you may not have thought of previously. For example, Salesforce Administrator, Developer, Business analyst, etc... It will also give you salary average and detailed description about the role.
And look at our fabulous #moustacheswithjobs series to highlight further practical advice for people entering the workforce.