Career Goals and Ambitions – What Do You Want from Your Career?

A completely rewarding working life that ensures your long term happiness is certainly the aim of much of the working population, but such an experience belongs to the lucky few. Nonetheless, by keeping focused on your ambitions and goals, and introspectively asking yourself what it is you want from your career, you too could attain this seemingly impossible goal.

Money’s capacity to provide true job satisfaction is limited. Studies by management and motivation theorists have found that salary, as with many other factors such as work conditions and your relationships with managers can only serve to prevent dissatisfaction.

The important point here is that not being dissatisfied is not the same as achieving the satisfaction of a happy and rewarding work life. This will not be news to you if you’ve ever felt a vague, yet disconcertingly sustained apathy towards your work.

True job satisfaction may come from factors including:

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • The nature of the work
  • Responsibility
  • Advancement
  • Problems or challenges?

Consider the issues affecting your working life in your most recent employment. What was dissatisfying about your position? Were there any aspects that caused you stress? Were you actually reasonably happy, and are you actually looking for a higher degree of satisfaction in your next job?

Our 2008 survey of accounting & finance professionals and employers showed that the main factors behind leaving an organisation are more weighted towards those factors cause dissatisfaction (overworked 5%, lack of flexible working 10%, poor salary 11%, general dissatisfaction 11%) over those that have been shown to provide true satisfaction (lack of opportunity for promotion 20% and highest, organisational culture 4%).

Your employer should be willing and able to satisfy your more basic requirements. With these in place you can focus your career decisions on achieving the things that you really want, both now and in the future.

Once you have explored these issues in some depth, you will be well placed to think about what degree of satisfaction you can achieve in your current organisation, or whether it’s time to move onwards and upwards in search of something more.

If you could do away with your problems at work, how well could your employer stack up for the 5 factors bullet pointed above?

What matters to you today? What will matter tomorrow?

While everyone wants it all, any realistic plan must accept that what we want from our current job and our subsequent jobs will differ. Early in your career, you’ll want to get things that aid progression: funded and specific training, for instance. Or just the ability to work with motivational colleagues who make you a better employee.

As you progress in your career – and your life in general – you’ll find job security, status and responsibility creeping up your list of expectations.

Think about where you are today, and where you want to be tomorrow – in your career and more generally. What factors are important in making this happen? Can your current role and organisation give you what you want?

It is worth having an idea of your ultimate goal or vision. Even if you aren’t certain enough in this goal to pursue it with an uncompromising vigour and ‘make it happen’, knowing what you are aiming towards gives you direction, a basis for decision making, and allows you to at least ‘let it happen’.

Making the connection: culture and values

The working environment and culture in an organisation will influence many of the five factors at the top of the page. It is important to make the right connection between your personality and values and the culture of the organisation for which you work.

While it can be difficult to identify these values, some companies will formalise their values and publish them on their website or within their corporate mission statement.

Better still, use your interview to find out some of these values. Asking such a question in your interview will show that you’re genuinely interested in the position, and attempting to place yourself in the context of their organisation, after all. Ask how achievements are recognised and rewarded and how this translates into career progression.

Think you’re ready to get the career you deserve? Start a job search in the Badenoch & Clark job database. It takes time to find the perfect role – sign up for our job alerts and have targeted jobs from your industry emailed to you for the next two months.

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