A couple weeks ago I attended a “Smart Money” talk hosted by Dave Ramsey and some of his Ramsey personalities. It was a great opportunity for my fiance and I to get on the same page when it comes to budgeting, finances, and retirement savings. It was a fantastic event, and I highly recommend it for anyone no matter where you are in your financial journey.
Through the lens of a career development professional, though, there were also a few career development takeaways as well.
If you’ve ever listened to the Dave Ramsey show for more than a few minutes, you’ve heard him discuss at length how you need to be intentional with your money: “give every dollar a name.” I love this mantra when it comes to budgeting money, but how about budgeting your time or class schedules or job applications? I’ve talked with dozens of students of the last few years who have some kind of direction in mind for their careers, but when I ask about what they are doing to intentionally put their plan into place, they can only list a couple classes that their academic advisor told them to take.
The most successful students and professionals I have encountered are usually the most intentional. This goes for career, faith, family, fitness, and even relaxation for that matter. You don’t have to have a plan for everything, but being intentional with the things that matter the most to you ensures that you will achieve more in those areas.
Have a Mentor
Dave also talked about getting real world advice from somewhere who has been there and done that. Don’t take financial advice from some broke dude. Similarly, don’t take career advice from someone who doesn’t really know the full scope and implications of your current situation.
Try to find a mentor who has been in your shoes. It’s nice to get information about careers from websites and other publications, but when you talk with a person you get the full 360 degree view of that field: the positives and negatives. You’ll also see that most careers don’t instantly jump from one point to another — there are usually lots of ups, downs, detours, and regroups in between.
Have a Written Plan
Through listening to several Dave Ramsey podcasts, I’ve learned that managing money isn’t just about what you do now, but why you’re doing it for the future. You have to give your money a mission: what are you going to do, when are you going to do it, when, and how. Dave Ramsey talks at length about having a written budget: a specific plan for what happens to your money each month. This serves as a tangible reminder of what you set out to do from the beginning: achieve your financial goals (even when you’re staring down that new 80″ TV from across the store).
In your career development, you must have a plan. To hold yourself accountable, and to remind yourself of what you’re working towards, write down your career plan. What do you need to be doing now, in the next few months, the next year, and five years out? Set some immediate, short term, and long term goals. Most people keep a mental plan, and we know how well that works (where’s the remote control?).
Dave Ramsey focuses mainly on managing money, but is not a stranger to talking about careers on his show. I encourage you to give it a listen, or check out his website if you’re not familiar with his several “Ramseyisms.”
Managing money is important, but you need to make sure you are paying attention to your career development too. Make sure that your career doesn’t just happen, but you influence it to become what you want and need it to be.