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Developing career resilience
Developing career resilience

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2.1 Long-term goals

Setting a long-term goal usually involves looking five or even ten years forward. In the context of career resilience, these are likely to relate to your longer-term career plans or other significant changes in your approach to life. For example, you might say ‘in five years’ time I want to be a qualified accountant’ or ‘in three years’ time I want to be an individual with high self-esteem’.

Usually, a long-term goal is one that will require planning and time, so it’s important to set the right goal in the first place, or your time could be wasted. To get you thinking about possible long-term career goals, Morris (2021) has the following suggestions:

  1. Secure a promotion
  2. Gain management experience
  3. Increase your salary
  4. Switch careers
  5. Set up your own business
  6. Establish yourself as a brand
  7. Have work published
  8. Become a certified professional
  9. Become a thought leader
  10. Step back

Activity 2 Setting long-term goals

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Decide whether your goals are going to be focused on your career progression or life changes to support your overall career resilience (such as improving your physical fitness or developing higher self-esteem).

Quickly write down three career resilience goals that you’d like to have achieved in five years’ time. (Make this time period longer if you think you’ll need more time to achieve it. For example, people sometimes set a 10 year long-term goal.)

Don’t think about them for too long – try and do it within one minute.

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You might think this is a very short activity for such a big topic. But as life coach Bennie Louw (n.d.) suggests:

when you only have 30 seconds to write your three most important goals, your answers will be as accurate as if you had 30 minutes or three hours. Your subconscious mind seem to go into a form of ‘hyper-drive’ and your three most important goals will pop out of your head and onto the paper, often to the surprise of the person doing the exercise.

Sometimes your long-term goals might seem overwhelming and difficult to achieve, so a useful starting point is to set ourselves smaller steps that will take us in the right direction and maintain our motivation. You’ll start to think about that in the next section. One technique is to work backwards from your goal, setting yourself medium- and short-term goals that will help you to get there.

You’re not going to focus on medium-term goals in detail here, but you get the picture – if your long-term goal is five years away, you might want to be achieving any medium-term goals at around the 2-3 year point. Depending on your long-term goal, and how informed you currently are about what it will take to achieve it, you might be able to set some medium-term goals now.