This is a time to challenge all of the voices, beliefs, and influences that have shaped your career choices to date and find your “authentic” voice and passions. Many people who engage in career exploration find that they get stuck in a rut or idle for a while due to expectations from their spouse, parents, children, and peers. It is tough to challenge these expectations because it might cause disagreement and negative emotions. It is not that uncommon for your loved ones to make ultimatums and threaten your internal desire to improve your career. For example, some parents have expectations that their children follow in their footsteps and become lawyers and doctors. When you begin to challenge these expectations, your parents might get angry or even threaten never to speak to you again. This is no joke. If you are married, it might be difficult to make the transition because of spousal expectations about income and lifestyle needs. You may or may not experience these challenges; however, be aware of the potential stress during the transition process. To really explore your goals, you must push these voices and expectations aside for the time being.
Career goals identify what will be done to move you towards the attainment of your career vision. Setting career goals involves a continuous process of research and decision-making. Knowledge of yourself is a vital starting point in setting career objectives. To get started, ask yourself some simple questions to assess your current situation:
- How much money have you invested in yourself to enhance your current skills in the past 12 months?
- How much money/time have you invested in yourself to gain new skills for future work?
- In what ways have you exposed yourself to opportunities to enhance your knowledge or experience beyond current job expectations?
- What risks have you taken related to your career development?
- How are you preventing your career from being a series of accidents?
Setting the right career goals is critical for a successful outcome during your career transition. Career goals such as “change my job,” “update my resume,” and “make more money” may be admirable, but they do not define what to do. “They fail to specify priorities and focus. Such objectives do not map the journey ahead – the discovery of better value and solutions for you.”
 Customer Intimacy”, Fred Wiersema, 1996