Career Objectives That Are Doomed to Fail
I recall a buddy telling me years ago, “If you do not really know where you’re going, you can’t make a map to get there.”
The said sentence has stayed with me because it is so accurate. I tend to be a strategic, big-picture thinker. But what I’ve discovered is that, although the big concept style of thinking may be a lovely thing, it can also be the end of great things before they ever begin. While big concept thinking and spirit might be exciting, they are not sustainable unless they are accompanied with a plan of action and specific objectives to bring you where you want to go.
This is much more true when it comes to defining objectives at work. To put it another way, knowing you want to be a manager one day is excellent, but how do you plan on getting there? What efforts will you take between now and then to ensure that you get promoted?
If you want to get promoted to a senior level job as soon as possible, you’ll need to figure out how to grab the attention of senior management. Perhaps you know you want to obtain a job in a different field or with a new team before a particular age, and you’re wondering what objectives you might establish to make that happen. Knowing what you want and making reasonable objectives to obtain them while putting up a plan of action are both necessary.
According to Douglas Vermeeren, an international speaker and author on human achievement and goal setting, just 20 percent of the population sets goals for oneself, and of that 20 percent, roughly 70 percent do not achieve them. That might be depressing to read, but it can also set the scenario for you to better understand why.
Understanding why others fail to reach their goals enables you to lay the groundwork for avoiding those traps and achieving the objectives you set for yourself. Often, it is the way we think about establishing professional objectives that creates an atmosphere in which we are more likely to fail.
What kinds of professional objectives are doomed to failure?
Goals that are unrealistic: You must make certain that your objectives are attainable. In other words, if you put in the effort and the necessary time, you will be able to accomplish your goals. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you ever get started. If your goals seem too lofty at first, break them down into smaller, more realistic objectives to better position yourself for success.
Goals including “shiny objects” are often employed in Internet marketing.
It’s easy to be caught up in the “shiny object syndrome” since there’s always some new sort of device or technology that promises to make your life or conducting business simpler. In actuality, the “shiny items” aren’t worth the money in the long term, and they just serve to make you feel or seem “cool” for a small period of time.
When it comes to creating realistic goals, you want your objectives to be affected by what you want and want to achieve with your life, not by what looks to be “cool” or what can get attention or praises just because it is what others want at the moment or believe is “cool” for the time being.
Goals impacted by others: Society, our friends, our siblings, and our parents often have strong opinions on what we should and should not be doing with our lives and jobs. It’s crucial to remember that whenever somebody offers you “advice” on what you should be doing, it’s because they believe you should be doing something since it’s what they would do themselves. It is about them, not about you.
I recommend that you accept “advice” as knowledge that you may use to make informed and educated choices, but that you maintain your professional objectives in line with what you want to accomplish in your life rather than what others want you to do. When you attain objectives that are affected by something or someone outside of yourself, you are doomed to failure because you will not be satisfied in the long run—you have sold out on the goals you want to reach that someone else desires for you.
Setting goals at work without a road plan:
As I previously said, goals are fantastic, but you need a road map to get you from point A to point B. If you don’t have it, you could end yourself someplace in the country of B, but you won’t make it to point C.
Setting objectives at work without a timetable:
When you create professional goals, offer yourself a period within which to fulfill them. This helps to set the scene for success by igniting a fire beneath you and putting you in action mode. It also enables you to break down larger objectives into smaller milestones in order to reach your deadline. If you don’t set a time limit for yourself to finish a goal, it might take you twice as long or longer to complete it, or worse, you may not do it at all.
Setting objectives at work for which you do not believe you are qualified:
This argument could be the subject of a whole psychological article in and of itself, but to summarize, if you establish goals and don’t feel you deserve to achieve those objectives, whatever they may be, you are doomed to failure. Whether you want to get promoted within six months, want to serve on the board of a non-profit in two years, or want to be named Employee of the Month within a year, you must think that you are deserving of such honors and that you deserve them just as much as anybody else.
If you don’t feel you can accomplish anything or find it tough, keep putting in the time and effort, and keep seeing your life once you’ve achieved your objectives. You will still be assisting yourself along the way to your objective if you use this technique. This is exactly what I did for a period of time in my professional life, and thankfully, others recognized my abilities as a result of my approach, which I eventually accepted.
The S.M.A.R.T. approach simplifies goal-setting while providing better long-term outcomes.
Many firms employ the SMART technique for creating objectives at work, which I’ve found to be beneficial when done right.
S = Precise: The more specific you are in your goal setting, the clearer your aim becomes. I want to be a billionaire is a general goal, but I want to earn $30K in commissions per month is a defined goal.
M = Measurable: You need to be able to determine when you have achieved your professional objectives. When your objectives are quantifiable, the tangible manifestations of your goals, as well as the verbal confirmations you get, are clear.
A = Achievable: This goes hand in hand with the point I made before about your objectives being realistic. If your objectives aren’t achievable, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you ever get started.
R = Relevance: This ties in with my last statement about your objectives being impacted by others. If your objectives aren’t relevant to you and what you want, it will be more difficult to attain them. Even if you do manage to fulfill your goals, you are unlikely to be satisfied in the long term.
T = Timely: As previously said, objectives without a timeline are difficult to attain; thus, make your goals timely.
Career objectives help us to go ahead and reach the ideal level of success we want over time. Knowing when you are making it tough to reach your objectives can assist you in overcoming hurdles and obtaining the profession you seek. Consider using the S.M.A.R.T. method, or do your own study to discover a system that works for you, so that your objectives are reachable. When it comes to tools to assist you in setting successful objectives for your career and field of work, you may also seek counsel from your supervisor or the human resources department.
Finally, it is perfectly acceptable for objectives and plans to alter from time to time. However, if you already have your job objectives and plans in place, it will be much simpler to change them when the time comes.
1. The ambiguous objective
A well-defined list of employment objectives serves as the cornerstone of a successful job-search approach. Every aspect of your job-search activities – from how you arrange your CV and online presence to how you locate employment leads – will be influenced by the objectives you set for yourself. A goal that is overly imprecise or ambiguous might be a significant impediment to your professional objectives.
As an example, if someone asks you, “what are your professional goals?” and your response is simply, “I want a job” or the now-familiar phrase, “I’ll take anything I can get,” you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of work dissatisfaction. Would you go on a tour to a destination where you didn’t have a set itinerary? Most likely not.
Job on identifying the underlying skills, fundamental values, and working environment that are most appropriate for you based on your previous work experience. The more specific your objectives, the simpler it will be to build the most appropriate strategy.
2. A aim that is much too lofty or impractical.
It is impossible to expect to go from the position of marketing associate to that of chief marketing officer in a 12-month period. Furthermore, assuming that you can go from being a product manager to an HR generalist in one day is naive and unrealistic. If you want to advance your career or make a functional shift, there is nothing wrong with wanting to do so in the near term. However, expecting to achieve any of these goals in the short term is unrealistic.
Problem-solving technique: Develop a job-search strategy that focuses on positions that will allow you to get the skills and experience required to attain these more ambitious, long-term objectives.
3. The undocumented objective
Was it ever brought to your attention that just writing down your objective increases your chances of achieving it? Once you’ve settled on a career path, make a formal record of your decision. What would your life look like if you were to achieve your objective successfully? What do you think the result would be? When you define success, you’re establishing criteria that will aid you in staying on track and on schedule.
Post your objective near your home computer so that you don’t lose sight of it. Solution:
4. The imposed objective
Many times, your professional objectives are not even your own. As a child, how many times have you heard well-intentioned parents, teachers, friends, and family members want for you to become this or that (often with more than simply encouragement)? However noble their intentions, if you find yourself carrying out someone else’s life (for example, becoming what your father wanted to be but was prohibited from being), you are almost certain to be unhappy in your current circumstances.
Solution: Do not allow “others” to derail your objectives in order to satisfy their own whims and desires. It’s important to remember that, although others might be helpful in inspiring you, guiding you, and assisting you in your endeavors, their wishes and ambitions should not be the primary factor in defining the course of your life, including your professional path.
5. A goal without a strategy is impossible to achieve.
As Napoleon Hill famously observed, “a goal is a dream with a deadline.” This remains true today. Your employment objectives are only as successful as the strategy you devise to achieve them in the first place.
As a workaround, break your objective down into smaller, more manageable stages. Identify the activities, tasks, and deadlines that are involved with each milestone and write them down. By breaking down your objective into smaller, more manageable pieces of labor, you’ll be less likely to get overwhelmed and disheartened along the process. This might be the difference between giving up and staying devoted to your objective..
6. The so-called “infant” aim
Some professionals set their aspirations so high and unrealistically high that they will be continually disappointed if they do not reach their objectives. On the other hand, there are some who set goals so low that even accomplishing them is considered a failure. To becoming a librarian may be your lifelong desire, but even if you achieve it with an MBA and $100,000 in student loan debt, the achievement will be a letdown in and of itself.
Systematic evaluation of long-term goals, ideally during your undergraduate or graduate studies, to ensure that you not only have realistic goals but goals that are best suited to your background, will support your desired and/or required lifestyle, and that propel you forward rather than keep you stuck in the past. You should have great dreams, but you should avoid allowing mediocrity to become your most commonly accomplished professional objective.