I am not 40-years-old yet. Sometimes I close my eyes and envision what I have accomplished at 40 years old. There are certainly personal goals of mine that come to mind.
However, I strongly believe there are four universal career goals that we can all aim to achieve before crossing the line into our 40’s to set ourselves up for success before retirement.
When we start our career path, working towards a leadership role brings several different benefits:
Increased confidence. When you are responsible for a team or leading others at the job, there is a certain feeling of excitement and pride. Yes, with this role you probably have more stress and uncertainty. But the good often outweighs the bad.
The opportunity to mentor others. A great part of learning is educating others for a better tomorrow. When you are in a position of leadership, you are able to teach others to what it takes to be an effective leader, and leave your mark on the organization — and hopefully, the world.
Support for administrative tasks. Not everything we do in our career is glamorous or exciting (especially the administrative tasks). When you are in a leadership position, it feels like a blessing to be able to assign those small tasks to others, so you can spend your time on other matters.
Freedom to think outside of the box. As a leader, you are typically able to share your opinion and thoughts to help “steer the ship” in the right direction. This potential impact on a company or an organization is something that can feel quite gratifying and exciting at this point in your career.
By 40, you should have a leadership position at work or in some other capacity, maybe in a community organization or club. Anywhere you can make an impact and reap the benefits of working your way to the top.
Not everyone wants the same thing out of their career. For me, I realized being an entrepreneur afforded me autonomy with my schedule that corporate America wouldn’t be able to provide. Additionally, I was focusing my work on creative and innovative projects that I couldn’t do when working full time for an employer. Whether you want to create a non-profit or travel the world, most of us have passions that we may not be pursing in our current jobs. However, our passions matter and it is up to us to make time to prioritize them, so we don’t live a less satisfying or fulfilling life. By 40, you should be in the position to pursue your passions, whether it's by switching departments, adding on responsibilities to your role, or going out and starting your very own business or side hustle.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Whether it is supporting our youth, protecting the environment or providing resources to the disenfranchised, there are several opportunities to make this world a better place. Helping to run a business and doing good in this world are not mutually exclusive. Don’t you agree? By 40, you should find some way to give back to your community with your work, whether it's by raising money for charity with your ERG, dedicating yourself to ensuring diversity on your team, or dedicating yourself full-time to the less privileged.
Have you shared your career story? Whether it is on a blog or in a community, sharing your story allows other women to learn from your journey, and provides you with some external when you are going through the ups and downs of your career. Essentially, sharing our experiences is how we make it easier for those that come after us. Don’t keep your journey to yourself. Show others just how amazing you are!
Natasha Nurse started Dressing Room 8 to provide a web-based resource where women can gain personal and professional empowerment through her fashion and lifestyle focused blog. She is the Lifestyle Editor for Plus Model Magazine, a Program Coordinator for Long Island Girl Talk, and she co-hosts a podcast with her husband called WokeNFree. Follow Natasha on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google Plus.