Have you ever been so caught up in planning an important event or party that you eventually ended up super stressed and ruining it all for yourself and others? Does this seem relatable? If so, then it will be easy for you to understand that the same can happen to your career if you overplan. Career planning is the process of curating a plan of action for career management in a way that the journey is as smooth as possible. It is best done after analyzing one’s interests, values, skills and aptitude. Thus, career planning can be considered a career finder tool that enables a student to navigate through choices and opportunities. However, everyone’s way of planning and prioritizing a career can be different based on their abilities and interests. Though there is no fixed method of career planning, with a little guidance from experts and guardians it is possible to plan well. However, the pressure of planning may lead to overplanning and create more problems than solving them. How much is too much?
Why should students give importance to career planning?
Career planning is highly beneficial in shaping the overall career journey of a student. When students get involved in career planning, it helps in the following ways:
- Students become self-aware and select their best-suited career option.
- Students are able to factor in alternatives for the future and work accordingly.
- It helps students to research more about their field(s) of interest and seek guidance if needed.
- It gets students into a preparatory mode.
- It helps students learn to focus on their goals.
- Planning enhances the confidence and optimism of students and prevents them from mental stress that can arise when they are unprepared for their careers
However, looking for perfection in a career plan may not be the best thing to do. Planning out a career journey is beneficial but overplanning can defeat its purpose.
Career overplanning may look like:
- Being stuck with one career option and neglecting the other options available: This can make students overwork due to the fear of having no alternatives. Sometimes, parental pressure can also lead to this kind of career overplanning.
- Setting difficult deadlines and worrying about them excessively: Sometimes, parents may set a particular time period for children and expect them to plan a career within that time. This may lead to anxiety and a fear of failure.
- Being rigid about a career choice: Overplanning may lead both parents and children to be inflexible about their choices and refuse to consider other promising opportunities coming their way.
Perils of overplanning a career
When parents and educators force unrealistic standards and unattainable goals for students to accomplish, it can be quite distressing. Oftentimes, parents tend to overplan career journeys and in the process, children’s interests and strengths may be overlooked. Such a fallacy may lead to a bitter relationship between parents and children.
It can be very disappointing when a student is unable to build a desired career even after planning and they do not even have a plan B. This can act as a major barrier in career management and leave a student feeling dejected.
- Drop year
Some students who have overplanned their careers and not attained the desired goals in a certain time period, often have to drop a year or two to prepare again. Drop years can be stressful for some students as they may have to constantly deal with the fear of trying and failing again. This ultimately leads to overthinking rather than practically planning a career.
- Burnout is real
Students may become exhausted, both physically and mentally due to overstimulation caused due to career overplanning, leading to burnout. Therefore, fruitful career management needs to be a mix of both work and play.
How can you avoid career overplanning?
Overplanning is not just ineffective, but also harmful when it comes to career management. So, while making an action plan for your career, be mindful of the following things:
- Have a backup plan
One of the most simple yet significant ways to be safe from the dangers of overplanning a career is to have a backup plan. An alternative career path can act as a safety net when faced with challenging circumstances. Seek guidance from expert career counsellors who can help you choose alternate career paths based on your interests, skills, and personality.
- Be flexible
Parents, as well as students, need to be flexible and understand that productivity can vary sometimes. Furthermore, every individual is different and shaped by different experiences. It is unfair to compare one career journey with another. Being open-minded to welcome new opportunities can lead you to what you need for a successful career.
- No plan is too good to be tweaked
Parents and students both need to do away with the concept of having a ‘perfect’ plan that must stay unchanged come what may. There can be sudden eventualities or a change of interest that can necessitate a change in a career plan at any stage of a student’s journey.
If you are struggling to come up with a plan for balanced career management, get in touch with us at LaunchMyCareer. Our professional career advisors make use of the best self-discovery tools such as a personality test or psychometric test to provide complete guidance in creating your personalized career roadmap.
To know more, visit LaunchMyCareer now.