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The Short and Long of Setting Career Goals

woman typing on laptop with light in background by window

When managing a career clearly setting goals is an important step to finding the right job.  We typically think in the long term, 3-year, 5-year, 10-year etc.  But the idea of developing short-term can be beneficial too.  The goals will work together to ensure you are spending your time where you want.

Recently I was asked for career advice from someone in their early 30s.  They currently have a good job with a very excellent salary.  My first question was what are your goals?  Because of the age and being single the response was to find a job where “I don’t have to sit at a desk all day”.  This is an example of a short-term goal.  It is reasonable too. As we know, if one doesn’t like their job, then a large salary doesn’t make up for being bored and unmotivated.  We set out to find some role with travel and short-term projects so change would be the norm.  There are other factors to consider. At this age with no debt or outstanding financial responsibilities a retirement and home-buying plan might be put into place.  The is where the short and long term goals will interlock with each other.

Short term planning is not just for the young.  Whatever the age, a look down the road can give opportunity for goal setting.  Perhaps your employer offers benefits that can be taken advantage of now to help start a second career after it’s time to leave this job.  This may be in the areas business knowledge or self-growth.

What short-term goals can you set today, obtain in the next few months that will benefit going forward?  Try setting some short-term goals that match up with your long-term desires.  Write them down and make a list of steps to achieve each.  As you mark completed items off you can celebrate your accomplishments.  Keep track of your long-term goals too.  They will have a longer lead time but are something to keep looking back at.  What is key is to develop and write out your plan, follow your plan and review it on a regular basis.  Consider what is called “bold” or “stretch” goals that take you out of your comfort zone.

Build your plan around what is important to you and how much you can invest in your future whether it’s on a job or in retirement.

Ted Saul is a business coach and writer that assists with Business Plans, Project Management and Career Management. He earned his MBA from Regis University along with a Masters in project management.  Ted can be reached on LinkedIn or by emailing

Written by Ted Saul, Sr. Staff Writer

Ted Saul is a business coach that assists with Business Plans and Project Management. He holds a master certificate in project management and has earned his MBA from Regis University. Ted can be reached on LinkedIn, TedS787 on Twitter or emailing

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