Being Clear About What You Want

clarity is essential to career goals

Having a goal matters for your career path and for your continued success.

by Sonya Sigler

I worked for a crazy man who made our entire legal department miserable – with his micromanaging, his ever-changing priorities, the shifting directions that felt like quick-sand, and his Friday afternoon crisis that would ‘require’ working over the weekend to handle.

Migraines, which I had never experienced before, started setting in on Sunday afternoons as I thought about going back to work on Monday. For my dream job, as an intellectual property lawyer. At SEGA. Yes, that SEGA!

Dream job or not, desperation set in. Desperation to find another job. Any job but the one I had. I took the next job offer that came along, which was for a great job, in a great department, in a great company. I was thrilled!

Until I wasn’t.

The job was not a match for me and what I wanted, which was to get out of the legal department and on to the business side of the negotiation, licensing, and acquisition work I was doing.

It took me five years to figure out this mismatch and do something about it.

Unfortunately, if you are just looking for ‘any job,’ you might get more of the same, more of what you have.

Looking for ‘any job’ makes it hard for you to narrow down which jobs to apply for out of the thousands of openings out there.

As I interviewed with one General Counsel at a startup company (he already knew who I worked for and why I wanted to leave without me having to discuss it with him) it was clear that yes, I wanted to leave the job I had, but it was not at all obvious what job I wanted to go to.

The lack of clarity made it hard for him to hire me. What was I going to contribute to his legal department? That, I wasn’t articulating very well.

I had no clear career goals, no clear job or role that I was seeking. I just wanted out of where I was. Yes, I wanted a lawyer job, but what kind? Litigation, transactional, in-house, at a law firm? This type of scattershot approach to job hunting won’t help you obtain your dream job.

While you may have more specificity in the role you are seeking than I did then, the clearer you can be about the job you are seeing and why, the easier it will be to find a good match.

Having a goal matters. Having a clear goal matters more.

When you have a clear goal – ‘I want a job in the legal field where I can use my analytical skills in the compliance context’ – the easier it will be to find a role that matches what you want.

A lack of clarity also makes it hard for others to help you – they don’t have enough information to recommend a job to you or, more importantly, you for a job.

When you have a clear goal, it makes it easy to say, ‘yes, this is a match for me’ or ‘nope, this isn’t a match, I need to keep looking.’

The importance of this clarity cannot be overstated. It’s why I spend almost half of the real estate in my book, WELCOME to the Next Level, talking about why having a goal matters for your career path and for your continued career success.

About Sonya L Sigler

Executive Leadership Coach | Business Strategy Consultant| Legal & Operations Executive | Speaker & Writer | Organizer of Chaos | Philanthropist

Sonya is in the confidence building business and loves to help women break through the glass ceiling! She works with highly motivated professional women (and enlightened, progressive men) who feel stuck, uncertain, or frustrated in their career. She empowers them to find a job they love that is balanced and aligned with their work-life vision. It took her many years to learn to do this and now she helps others design and live their balanced life.