Why Having A Five-Year Career Plan Is Overrated

Career goals are great to have, but when it comes down to it, they can also be kind of pointless. I mean, they certainly help you go from one day into the next with a sense of purpose, but if you think your life will go exactly according to your current five-year career plan, you're fooling yourself. A rough outline is great, but a detailed timeline is a waste.

You've spent your entire life thinking about work. When you were a kid, people asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up. If you think back to your goals then, they probably do not match where you are now. We couldn't all grow up to be inventors and pop stars, ya know? But life can change dramatically within a day — even within a second — and all of your priorities shift accordingly. You could wake up tomorrow and want an entirely different career than the one you have today. So while it's helpful to have a basic idea of what your next step will be in the working world, mapping it out in intricate detail for the next five years is borderline bonkers. Here are all the reasons why.

1. Because you might not be totally happy at your current job

Even if you are only feeling mildly dissatisfied at work right now, leaving can help you realize just how unhappy you really were. It's human nature to adapt and tolerate our surroundings, so even when things seem bad, you don't realize just how bad they are until you no longer have to deal with it. So don't base your future plan on your current role if you're not loving it.

2. Because you should always be open to new opportunities

Change can be scary, but it can also lead to incredible chances for success. Leave room in your life for things to take an entirely new direction, because it might change your life in the best way possible.

3. Because anything could happen

You might get sick. You might get injured. You might lose a friend or loved one. Something horrible or spectacular could shake up your universe and give you a new perspective on things. Don't assume your current routine will remain the same for the next five years. It won't.

4. Because your current work environment might be more toxic than you realize

You can't always trust your coworkers, or your boss. If the relationship you have with them at your current company feels even remotely toxic, it might not be a good idea to set your sights on staying there forever and climbing the corporate ladder. You spend most of the day at work, so why would you want to be in an environment that isn't supportive?

5. Because sometimes failure is the best gift you could receive

Failure could be anything: not getting a promotion, getting fired, botching a work project, etc. Whatever it is, don't let it derail you. If you get right back up and keep fighting, failure will inevitably lead to success.

6. Because your career will be very, very long

We will probably all be working until we're 80 years old, so what's five years in a career that's roughly 60 years long? It's nothing more than a blip, so don't focus on what will happen in five years. Just focus on today.

7. Because a job isn't everything

I mean, I know this concept is played out, but are you really going to think about work on your deathbed? Probably not. You don't need to choose a personal life over career, or vice versa. Plus, you might have some seriously kick-ass hobbies. Just keep in mind that there's more to life than however you're making your money.

8. Because knowledge is power

There's always more to learn. There are always new ways to grow intellectually. Don't put all the weight of your career in your level of experience when you could be taking more classes and learning new skills. Knowing more will never hurt you, and it will always help you.

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