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five-year-plan

The pace of life is pretty quick, and with technology improving all the time, it’s only going to get quicker. It used to be that you could predict where you’d be in a few years, but as entrepreneur and former Fortune 500 marketing executive Daron Pressley writes in a piece for Black Enterprise, the traditional “five-year plan” no longer makes much sense.

Pressley goes so far as to title his article “Why You Should Ditch Your Traditional Five-Year Career Plan,” and he makes a compelling case for scrapping the long-term planning. He includes three tips for doing just that, the first of which is to “determine your vision and purpose.” This should be the first step in any career plan, as you need to figure out what you’re looking to accomplish — and why. From there, you can begin plotting the next steps, keeping in mind that flexibility is crucial.

Next up: networking. It’s that word you hear over and over, and as Pressley explains, you sometimes won’t know what opportunities await until you begin speaking with people in the field. Start with a list of individuals you think might help and build out from there. Just make sure you’re not one-sided about things. As Pressley writes, you should be a resource for others whenever possible.

Lastly, Pressley suggests living in the now, or as he puts it, examining the short-term. This means keeping a daily diary of what you’re doing at work and making note of (a) accomplishments, (b) areas where you need to improve, (c) the things you really enjoy doing, and (d) the things you loathe. The logic here is simple: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, and you can’t reach the desired finish until you begin moving in the right direction.

“Creating a list of the tasks that you love to do will help you to better align yourself with the career you want moving forward,” Pressley writes.