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Self-realization is often overrated. Millennials are having a hard time, coping with labor market reality, while still dreaming about building their dreams.  Also, the market encourages them. We can see the message in ads and commercials: find your uniqueness”, “create your own brand”, “be free”. It sounds bold and attractive.  A statement about not compromise your ambitions. But if we look deep, there is not much content in any of those messages. They are more promoting lifestyle than a concrete message.

All of that confuses a lot.

I was confused too. I thought that I knew what I wanted. I studied two careers, two masters, and tried different jobs. All that study didn’t help me to define my career plan. Matter of fact, having too many options confused me. And to be completely honest, my career plan wasn’t so deliberate. My career was more about taking the opportunities when presented.

I realized, after working in several jobs, different companies and countries, what is important for me about a job. When I was really happy, was when I was able to produce something useful for others, such as training, a coaching session or a conceptual tool. A purpose was for me the most important thing in a job.

In the end, I came to some conclusions about career planning. I am now, more keen to believe, that you get to love your job, by doing it every day and getting into it. Like the artisan or the winemaker, who learn to love their own art, we have the choice to do it in our current jobs.

So, thinking about career planning, I came down to 5 myths about it. Here it goes:

1. It is Planned

There are thousands of books how to carefully plan every step in your career. For some people, this might work to some extent, but after listening hundred of people talking about decisions on their career, many of them are forced by circumstances or discovered without deliberation.

2. Career Decisions are totally random

Although planning every step in a career seems an impossible task,  based it on randomness, doesn’t make sense neither. We have some power to decide our next moves or visualize alternatives depending on how the situation is. Our careers are not totally out of our control.

3. It depends only on yourself

Many of the self-help literature out there, speak about self-confidence and taking control of your career. While I think they are important attributes, which really can make a difference in a career,  I also believe the power of networking and connections has been undermined. I truly think that majority of breakthrough moves in a career occurred when people get together or help each other out.

4. It has an end

The day my career is over, will be when I cannot move or when buried under 6 feet. We will have 20 years of “golden retirement” years. I really think that I will able to still produce something useful at that age.

 

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