Having career expectations is normal and highly recommended. Putting a plan in place creates guidance and gives structure to an otherwise unpaved path. As humans, we work off structure. It eases our mind to know what our next steps will be. But what happens when your planned career path isn’t coming together as you thought it would?
Making plans and sticking to them are two different things. I know I’m good at making plans, but my weakness is sticking to them. The same can be said about your professional life. Having a five or ten year plan puts our mind at ease until year six is here and there is no movement. The six-figure job at the leading company you planned to have by now seems to continuously be pushed further and further away.
Well, you’re not alone.
I’m graduating from Loyola Marymount University next year, in May 2018, and I remember graduating high school thinking, “by my next graduation, I should have a six-figure job, a house, a car, and a husband.” Far-fetched right? Throughout the last few years, I have tweaked those expectations, including the husband.
I knew what I wanted, but the path I thought I would take was not the path for me. I’m learning now that what I thought would take a maximum of five years has no set time of fruition. Placing time constraints on success is what kept my mind, my career, and even my life focused on one point. It became clear to me that even though the plan I set for myself had not gone how I wanted it to go, the things I have done have shaped me and allowed me to be in spaces I never thought I would be.
Understanding that my five-year plan is still under construction is not a bad thing. Not everything is going to fall in your favor, but there is no set time for the steps in between. Taking a step back to return to and revise your plan does not mean you failed or gave up. Instead, it allows you to grow and expand. We get caught up in what we should be doing and what we should have done, but we rarely empower ourselves to acknowledge what we’ve already done and what we’re currently doing.
During my time at Loyola Marymount University, I have gone back to the drawing board several times. Sometimes out of frustration, sometimes out of anxiousness, and sometimes out of feeling bored. I was very frustrated and hard on myself for a long time, and it wasn’t until someone said to me, “wow, you’ve done a lot in the last 3 years!” This statement put me in reflection mode.
I realized I don’t have a six-figure job, a house, or a husband…yet, but being privileged enough to attend college, I studied abroad in Spain and traveled Europe. I’ve accumulated a professional background through work experience and internships, and I realized that I have more time.
Time only runs out if we put an expiration date on success. Once I understood that personalized career goals have no expiration date, I began to acknowledge what I have done, and what I am doing, which helped me realize that my plan never changed. Instead, my journey became more scenic.
Post by Kyanna Johnson
Kyanna Johnson is currently a rising senior at Loyola Marymount University majoring in Sociology and minoring in International Relations. She has a passion for fine arts, travel, and black women empowerment. You can connect with Kyanna on LinkedIn.