“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you can imagine it.” – George Lucas Feel stuck in a career you somehow “landed in”. Are you tired of being in the back seat? Is it time to get into the driver’s seat to move your career forward? Great, you’ve made the decision to take control and be your best advocate. Where to now? Are you going straight (stay at same company on the same path), turning right or left (make a lateral career move) or heading for the freeway fast lane (seeking a leadership role)? Without an actual destination, it is very difficult to arrive at the “right” place – your desired professional destination. How do you locate your “right” place? CREATING YOUR CAREER VISION Creating and writing down a vision for your career is something most people have not developed. For some it’s totally overwhelming, it’s hard to say what you want when you’re not sure of it, they’re scared to say what they want because they’re afraid of not getting it or unless they know how to get there. For many of us being reflective of our needs, wants and desires is a new experience. Being given permission to spend time thinking about what I want out of my career, what type of job I really want, where I want to do it, with who and what kind of organization is eye-opening. Creating a vision can help you to move forward. You also want to think about your career path as a journey, what will it look like in 5 years and in 10 years? If you had a “working” crystal ball you would just need to look into it and watch the future unfold. Since, I don’t know anyone with a crystal ball that works – directing your mind on specific outcomes (getting clarity on what you want) through exercises, helps move you through the process so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or get stuck. The starting point is knowing what you are good at, what you like to do, what you are passionate about and what you dislike doing. The last is often the easiest list to make – things you don’t want to do at work. ASK YOURSELF Are your ready to build a vision for your desired career? Begin by writing it down. Start with the following 10 questions, to express what I want: 1. What type of job? 2. What type of boss and superiors? 3. What type of coworkers/team? 4. What kind of corporate culture? 5. How many people in the organization – no bigger than 200 or 200+? 6. What type of work? 7. What salary? 8. Where do I what to work (city)? 9. What values do I want the organization to embrace? 10. What kind of growth opportunities? Write down your answers. After you’ve written down your answers, start again with thinking what you want in 5 years and then in 10 years. Other exercises could include your ideal job description, employer wish list, corporate culture vision, ideal manager profile and what you are willing to give/do for an organization. You first create a vision, believe in yourself and then follow through with actions. We live in a cause/effect world, and by putting thought into motion, you will sooner than later reap the results your desire. Having your vision will help you to make decisions about which opportunities to pursue and knowing when it is time to change your role/company. Enjoy your career journey! Written by Maureen McKinnon, MSc. In Management, Career Strategist, McKinnon Career Strategies. Maureen offers programs, services and coaching to help women move their careers forward. Contact her at 604.908. 5058 or leave an email message: firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested in learning more about equal opportunities in tech? Check out our Women in Tech page.