You know that question you get during job interviews or performance reviews: “What are some of your longterm goals?” or “Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?” Personally, I’ve always had trouble answering that question, but I’ve always at least had a vague idea of where I saw myself at 30.Β  I don’t know why, but to me 30 has always been the age that I’ve pictured having everything pretty much figured out in my life. I’d be a homeowner, I’d be married, and I’d be on the right career path in a managerial position.

The thing is, it’s great having longterm goals, but lately I’ve been thinking that they can sometimes do more harm than good. For instance, why am I so fixated on becoming a manager by 30? Well, besides seeing myself in a leadership role eventually, the main reason is I want to be as far away from an entry-level position as possible.

I’ve been in assistant and coordinator jobs for over 4 years now and although I’ve enjoyed lots of these roles, I know I’m just too driven (and possibly impatient) to be in those same types of roles for another 3 years. To me, becoming a manager was the next step up, but lately I’ve been questioning my logic.

For instance, now that I’m studying digital marketing, I’m finding out about all types of new roles that are mid-level but not manager positions. I could become a digital strategist or a social media specialist, but since I’ve had it in my head that I should reach a manager’s position by 30, I’m almost too afraid to deter from that path. I hate not achieving goals, but I think I need to learn to let some go in order to make ones that better suit the future I want and my overall happiness.

Thinking further on that idea, longterm goals, especially when talking about finances and saving for retirement, are definitely better than no goals at all. But there’s something to be said for taking life by the reigns, saying YOLO in a completely non-sarcastic tone, and doing something spontaneous.

That’s what my HB and I did a year ago when we decided to go to Thailand for a month, then move to Toronto after we got married a few months later. Those were two of the best decisions we’ve made together, but I’m afraid we wouldn’t have done either of them if we were too focused on some of our longterm goals of saving up for a downpayment or getting that promotion at work.

What do you think? Have you ever experienced missing out on opportunities or having regrets because you were too focused on your longterm goals?

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