The first question that students prepare for, before an on-campus recruitment interview is – where do you see yourself 5/10 years from now? As a student, it never makes any sense to most. No one knows whether they would get a job, what will the job entail, what is the growth structure in the company, etc. It seems ridiculous that Recruiting Officers would expect mere students to know what they want to be 5 years from now. Getting a job itself seems a lofty enough ambition!
So when I look back after almost a decade of working, I realize how important that question is and how necessary it is for people to have plans and goals in life with milestones. If we do not know where/what we want to be 5 years from now, we will only be a drifting log in the river, sometimes floating, sometimes stuck in debris. But if we have goals with a milestone, it acts as the steering wheel which does not let us get stuck for long and pushes us to steer clear of situations which are holding us back.
So the question is – How to make these goals with clear milestones?
This needs a bit of maturity, a bit of guidance, bit of ambition and a lot of planning and execution.
Maturity: Most people, by the time they have completed 5-8 years of their work life, realize that they are in the wrong profession. They want to do something different but think that they are too late. Maturity is not so abundant when you are an 18-year-old about to chose the graduation stream or a 22-year-old about to start a job. So a bit of mature guidance is necessary.
Ambition: Ambition is the most important quality for success. If you do not have ambition, you will not care for where you would be 5 years from now in your career. If just having a job suffices, then no amount of guidance will help. The problem is most people want to see themselves as the CEO of a company without putting an iota of effort. So their dream will forever remain a dream and they will hold a grudge against other ambitious and successful peers who are putting the hard work in to get where they dream to be.
Planning: Start with the final goal and make a realistic estimation of how much time it will require for you to achieve it. Say for example you just graduated and you plan to be the CEO of a company 25 years from now. that is the aim/goal. Now you have to make a plan to reach that goal. For that, you have to break that goal into many small goals and milestones. For example, take certifications to get promotions, switch jobs to a smaller company to get faster promotions and more exposure/experience. The 25-year goal should be broken into 1 year, 2 years and 5-year goals. These mini goals will act as the milestones for your final goal.
Execution: Follow your plan religiously. Update your plan if you reach a few milestones sooner, or if you were held back for some reason. Constantly monitor your progress. If you do not deviate, then you will finally be where you want to be 5 years, 10 years or 25 years from now.
So, open your excel sheets and start planning.