Career Goals: The Difference Between What You Want to Get and What You Want to Do

“I want a flexible job.” said a working mom from Guilford, CT.

“I want to enjoy my work.” a young twenty something from Middletown, CT wrote.

“I want to make enough money so I can quit and start a business,” a fifty year old corporate warrior from a Hartford insurance agency told me.

“I want… I want… I want…”

I understand.  I really do.  I’m not suggesting that my career counseling clients who express their wants are entitled or spoiled or self-absorbed.  They are expressing their desires. Themes of desire are very important.  Each will help provide career end goals.

Nonetheless, “what you want to get” does not build your career path as quickly as “what you want to do.” 
“I want to help teen girls.” the Guilford mom eventually told me as we charted her course towards for what she wanted to DO. We figured out that a career in social work suited her and that she could then position herself to have flexibility in her job.

“I want to design cool websites.”, the twentysomething from Middletown expressed as we sorted out different skills he needed to develop in order to DO the work he enjoyed.

“I want to [confidential intellectual property] the Hartford executive said as we then started to plan what he needed to DO to start the business he has dreamed of starting for years.  In planning what to DO he also realized that he could start doing the business on the side and didn’t even need to quit.

Figure out what you want to do so that you can figure out how to get what you want.