What is the definition of career? Wiki says: “Career is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as a person’s course or progress through life. It can also pertain to an occupation or a profession that usually involves special training or formal education”

As times have changed and generations have progressed, careers use to be one that was standard and normally straight from start to finish. Those from the baby-boomer generation started their first job and for job security and providing for their family they stayed in that job until retirement. Generation X (1960-1980) started to show changes in how a career developed through the course of someone’s life. Generation Y (1980-2000) is a whole new way of life. When the career path is studied for Gen-Y it looks like a zig-zag road map. They jump from job to job to ensure they are getting what they need from where they are working. They are motivated by challenge and need to be learning to ensure they are engaged.

My post isn’t supposed to be talking about the life and why of the Y Generation, but I am trying to link it into how those in the Gen-Y “picture” can effectively plan a good career path that ensures they achieve what they need to in life. I found some great advice on how to do this, and as the New Year is fast approaching it is the perfect time to take some time and review your career and plan for the future.

“Step 1: Review 2012. Review the year, month by month. Make a list of where you spent your time: include your major projects, responsibilities and accomplishments. No need to overcomplicate this.

Step 2: Ask, “What is the news?” Look over your list and reflect on what is really going on. Think like a journalist and ask yourself: Why does this matter? What are the trends here? What happens if these trends continue?

Step 3: Ask “What would I do in my career if I could do anything?” Just brainstorm with no voice of criticism to hold you back. Just write out all the ideas that come to mind.

Step 4: Go back and spend a bit more time on Step 3. Too often we begin our career planning with our second best option in mind. We have a sense of what we would most love to do but we immediately push it aside. Why? Typically because “it is not realistic” which is code for, “I can’t make money doing this.” In this economy—in any economy—I understand why making money is critical. However, sometimes we pass by legitimate career paths because we set them aside too quickly.

Step 5: Write down six objectives for 2013. Make a list of the top six items you would like to accomplish in your career in 2013 and place them in priority order.

Step 6: Cross off the bottom five. Once you’re back to the whirlwind of work you’ll benefit from having a single “true north” career objective for the year.

Step 7: Make an action plan for January. Make a list of some quick wins you’d like to have in place by January 31 2013.

Step 8: Decide what you will say no to. Make a list of the “good” things that will keep you from achieving your one “great” career objective. Think about how to delete, defer or delegate these other tasks. Emerson said, “The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there.”

This is something that I came across, and I am going to take sometime out of my Christmas and New Year festivities to review where I am at currently, and where I want to see myself going.

Are you going to take some time to see how you have progressed and where you want to be in 5 years? Would love to hear some feedback!

Until next time, HR Workaholic