Aspirations and Goals in Your Career
Setting goals in your career is important.Â It is also important to aspire to things in your career.Â Often timeâs people want to use these terms interchangeably but they are not the same thing.Â Letâs take a look at career goals and aspirations so that you can get motivated.
A career aspiration is a path that you want your career to follow.Â For example, a big career aspiration for a lot of people is to become part of a management team.Â Being part of a management team is a big step up because it invests you with more power and greater responsibility.Â This is one of the most common career aspirations and it usually is fueled by wanting more money.
Not everyone aspires to move to management.Â There are higher level jobs that donât involve the stress of watching over people.Â A lot of people aspire to being a consultant where they can go and provide their knowledge as a job.Â This means that they also aspire to be an expert in their chosen field of work.
Another career aspiration is to start your own company in a specific industry.Â This would put you at the top of the chain and would make you your own boss.Â This can be a big motivating factor and a crowning achievement to oneâs career aspirations.Â To a lot of people if they start a successful business they view themselves as successful too.
People at the top have aspirations too.Â If you own a successful company your aspirations may be to continue the growth of your company.Â Opening new locations and moving to bigger venues is also a sign of success and a big income booster.Â For those that have bigger companies already their aspirations could be to retire successfully.
Aspirations do not always have to be to move upwards or expand.Â There are many people who aspire to move to an entry level job in a different industry.Â Imagine the recent college graduate who graduates without a job and moves into the first job that he can find so that he is making money.Â That recent graduate will aspire to move into his/her chosen career path.Â Not only recent graduates aspire to move to new career paths, there are plenty of people who enjoy new challenges and learning new skills.
Here are some common career aspirations:
â¢Â Â Â Enhance your professional skills in order to advance in your organization.
â¢Â Â Â Find stable job security.
â¢Â Â Â Become an expert in a field.
â¢Â Â Â Gain more autonomy at work.
â¢Â Â Â Better balance your home and work life.
â¢Â Â Â Network more on a professional level.
â¢Â Â Â Become better motivated to complete your job.
â¢Â Â Â Educate yourself more.
All of these are common work aspirations.Â They are similar to goals but less specific in nature.Â They often times take more time to complete than a goal too.Â You may not even complete them, aspirations can be ongoing throughout your life.Â A general aspiration can be to better yourself but if you pick this as an aspiration try to get more specific with it such as better myself in the job I am doing now or in the line of work I am doing now.Â Bettering yourself in general is hard to measure and hard to tell when you have obtained any progress.
If an aspiration is what you want to do with your career how is that different than a goal?Â A goal is a specific milestone or objective that is concrete.Â A common goal in oneâs work life is to make more money.Â This goal is one that people strive for because it means that they can live a better life and retire on time.
It is always important to set goals for yourself so that you know what you are trying to accomplish.Â It is best to set at least two goals for yourself so that you donât need to immediately set a new one when you achieve your first goal.Â Goals should be specific so that you can reasonably tell when you have achieved them.Â Aspirations are also important because they provide you with the drive to achieve your goals.Â They are much looser and tend to be more long term.
Get a piece of paper and sit down.Â Think about your goals and write them down.Â It may sound like something that you do in school but when you put something on paper it makes it feel more real.Â Write down your aspirations.Â Leave room below each goal and aspiration and write about how you plan to achieve these goals.Â By finishing these steps you will be in the 3% of Americans that has taken the time to think about their career and chart it out.
Take this piece of paper and post it somewhere in your office or cubicle if you have one.Â If you donât have a private place at work post it somewhere at your home that you will see every day.Â Doing this will help remind you of what your aims are.Â You will thank yourself for this level of planning down the road as it can only help you.
Upon graduation I wish to lead the fiber-optics product management team in one of the world’s largest optical communication companies (such as Alcatel-Lucent and AT&T), supervising a group of 5-10. Striving to promote myself within the organization, I wish to become the Vice President of Marketing in the fiber optics segment, supervising several dozens of employees.
My mid-term goal is to become the founder and CEO of an innovative fiber optics firm. I desire to position the company as a profitable, international and leading company in its industry, and aspire to establish a sustainable organization, creating workplaces for thousands of employees and turning an underdeveloped area into a flourishing industrial zone. Passave, an optical communication company, which was lately acquired for $300M, is a model for such a successful company.
After fulfilling this goal, I intend to follow the growing trend of successful executives who moved to the public service sector. My plan is to become a senior manager in the Prime Minister’s Office.
I chose my first full time position in the Optronics Division at the military because I knew it will introduce me to the diverse optical communication community in my country, equipping me with basic hands-on experience in the field. The first two years I worked as a Physicist and a System Engineer and then I was promoted to the position of Electro-Optical Projects Manager in the division’s headquarters. There I set the goals, supervised and directed 9 Project Mangers in optical projects performed by 7 different companies in the defense industry.
At that point I realized that for developing the managing tools required for a senior manager I’ll need to gain more experience in bigger organizations. Therefore, I persuaded the head of the R&D directorate to be reassigned to a classified Intelligence unit. My first mission as an Optical Engineer was to lead a group of 4 in building a module which was the heart of a $100M system. One year later I was appointed to a Team Leader where I commanded a team of 8. Two years later I was promoted to Project Leader.
I understood I lacked the financial and international experience of technological project management to lead a global optical communication company. I therefore became a Project Leader in a classified unit of the PMO. I supervised a team of 20, and managed all financial aspects of a $2M project (presented to the Minister of Defense), where I also had the marvelous opportunity to negotiate with highly ranked officials of three foreign governments.
While considering studying for a PhD, I worked as a part time an Internal Consultant of 5 Project Leaders. I then became an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) in Precede, an entrepreneurship and investment firm, in hope to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur. Working in Precede, I matured in my understanding. I realized I still lack some Finance, Marketing and General Management foundations, which an MBA will enable me to develop.
In light of my long term goal to become a founder and CEO of a technologically oriented company, I’ll need to gain the strongest possible general management skills. The finance and marketing foundations will compensate for my inexperience in these fields. The structured formal general management education I’ll acquire in Wharton will broaden my view and give me the tools to leverage my experience and create a successful company. I believe an MBA is the most structural way to learn how to build organizational values, culture and design organizational structure and hierarchy.
Moreover, most of my leadership experience was developed in governmental organizations, where a leader is defined in terms of his values, inter-personal skills and professionalism. However, looking into the future, I will need to lead in the private sector where leadership is also characterized by the talent to lead corporate players in global, competitive markets and an understanding of the cultural, economical and financial forces that drive the marketplace. Hence, I believe studying by the researchers of the Center of Leadership and Change Development like Prof. S. Kaplan who composed Framing the Future will help me build and lead a high performance optical communication firm.
My experience is mainly based on large and established organizations. Hence, learning from Prof. Dushnitsky on the various dimensions of new venture creation and growth in Entrepreneurship, will show me his perspective on the trail I wish to follow as a founder. Desiring to build a sustainable company, I am looking forward to taking Strategy and Competitive Advantage, where I hope to learn how to create and maintain such an advantage. Learning how to identify entrepreneurial opportunities and how to exploit them where “Creating Values” was contemplated, will lay a solid basis for achieving these goals by myself.
In a world which is growing ever flatter, I find international exposure and experience important for the global company I wish to found. The Multinational Management major courses, such as Global Strategic Management, and participation in the Global Immersion Program will prove valuable in helping me understand other cultures which will be important when penetrating new markets. This international exposure will improve my ability to establish contacts with other nations, hence supporting my longer term career goal of rejoining the PMO.
Wharton’s mindset and student body imply numerous benefits. The exciting opportunity to participate in school’s management would contribute to the fruitful interaction between students and faculty. I plan to take part in the leadership development activities and the various student clubs to create strong friendships. These connections, combined with the great global alumni community, can be especially relevant as an eco system for the company I plan to start and for recruiting its management backbone.