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When Is The Best Time To Start Planning For Your Career?

This is an interesting and complex question. It can be looked at from two aspects with its own pros and cons.

In this article, we will look at starting your career both late and early, Moreover, what are the consequences of doing so?

Is it too late for you to start planning for your career?

Life changes and so, your priorities keep changing over time.

You might have been clueless in our twenties about the kind of work that you wanted to do.

Maybe you took a break from the corporate prioritizing family over career.

Maybe you didn’t like the job that you did at the start of your careers.

Maybe you want to step aside from the mad rush of corporate bureaucracy and politics and re-evaluate your career strategy.

Don’t worry and make a hasty decision. Reflect on what is that you really want out of your career.

If you need the money, take a job that helps you meet your money goals until you re-evaluate your career. To make room for more meaning in your life. To focus on what really matters to you.

Maybe you have squandered the days gone by, but you learn from them. You can start afresh beginning from now.

You only have one life. How do you want to spend it?

You might come up with the excuse of the investment in time, effort and money that you made in your earlier or current path. It has to lead you to this place of introspection. It has to lead you to question yourself about what you want and don’t want.

Yes, rethinking about your career goals later in life will require you to move a few steps backward in order to move forward. Move forward in your new life and take backward steps in your old life.

Forget about what people say. People may say a lot of things or form a lot of opinions about you and how you should lead your life. They may even think you’re crazy to leave your current job and run after passion. But, you need to ask if these are the same people who are unhappy with their lives or who are leading stagnant lives. Are these people who never make a change? Surround yourself with go-getters and people who are living exactly the lives they want. The more you surround yourself with like-minded people, the more normal you will feel. In time, you will wonder anyone would be stuck in jobs that don’t make them happy or fulfilled?

The last excuse could be money problems or even the fear of starting afresh. But this is again a choice. If you want something badly, you will find ways to remove all obstacles in your path. None of these “but’s” or excuses will be big enough to hold you back from living the life of your dreams.

You may feel that a career change is not practical or possible at your age. You may feel that employers would be reluctant to hire you when you don’t have the experience in a new field – especially when it comes to high-level jobs.

Take heart in the research findings from Harvard Business School which reveal that outsiders without industry experience are likely to be the best leaders, who can resurrect troubled companies, map out bold new strategic directions, or guide a nascent startup to dominance.

Are you willing to start planning and take the leap?

Why it’s best to start planning for your career early?

In her TED Talk “Why 30 is not the new 20”, Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist says

“Our 20s are that critical period of adult development.

The advantage always lies with the person who knows what they want to do early and gets on and does it.

Early momentum is key. People who get momentum early on keep on getting momentum and get more opportunities.”

If you already know in your early twenties what you want to become in life, that’s the best situation. You should have a career plan in place. You should have Plan A and Plan B to accommodate all sorts of situations.

If you don’t know what you want early on, then it’s good to speak to a reputed career counselor who can help you find suitable career options.

The significance of early career planning cannot be emphasized enough for fresh graduates. You have the advantage of time in your hands. Make the most of it and don’t squander your life without a solid career plan in place.


There is no right or wrong time to start planning for your career. However, it is an advantage if you have clarity about your career early on in life so that you can plan and work towards your goals.

Your time is precious, and you must decide how to invest every second of it.

Our final thought is that you should make your career decisions and plans from a place of belief in yourself and your strengths — not a place of fear and desperation.

If you need assistance with career planning, you can contact Manhattan Review India for professional guidance.

We would love to read your comments and know your thoughts. If you found this article useful, please like and share with your friends, and do follow our page to know when we post next. Thank you!

Useful Info

The One Thing You Need To Have For A Successful Career

A successful career will mean different things to different people as we have different desires and goals. The meaning of a successful career will also change with time as you evolve professionally and personally over the years.

To stay focused and on track of your successful career path, you need a career plan.

Yes, we said it!

A Solid Career Plan Is What You Need To Have A Successful Career

Making a career plan is just like making any other plan. It involves two aspects – Strategic (What and Why) and Tactical (How).

The strategic dimension of drafting a career plan involves a combination of soul-searching and looking at your life from a bird’s eye view or the bigger picture. The tactical aspect of your career plan involves a step-by-step action plan towards achieving your career goals.

When charting your path towards a successful career, you should have a well thought-out and clear plan of both strategic and tactical aspects.

Fortunately, it is not complicated and requires a basic common-sense approach towards building your successful career.

The Essentials For Effective Career Planning

You can compare your career plan to creating and following a roadmap to success. Without a career plan or roadmap, you will be walking through your professional life with blinders. You will be merely fulfilling your professional tasks for the day without realizing how your daily work routine fits in your overall career plan.

Having a career plan will help you stay focused right from the start to the end of your long career. It will define, develop and evolve with your core values and objectives, laying out the rationale behind them and making it easy for your achieve success in your professional life.

  1. It begins with You

Any successful career plan starts with You. This is where some deep soul searching, or self-assessment comes into play. Your personality and character count at this stage. You will need to think and write down your values, goals, and interests in life.

Your values and goals mean what’s important to you as an individual. Your values indicate how you treat other people, and your goals signify how you want to live your life.

Living your life without any goals or resolutions can be sad and unmotivating. You need goals to avoid living a directionless life. Having specific goals which bring your happiness and satisfaction when achieved is essential for both your personal and professional progress.

When setting out goals, don’t be afraid of failure. Having a well-lived life means having both success and failure. The end goal should be to learn from both and use them as guides toward future success.

Knowing your goals and values helps you find a job that matches your interests and what you want out of life.

Your preferences are the things you like to do, as well as the things you prefer not to do.

Your interests are what you like to do, and it can be linked to your profession. You can ask questions like;

What kind of work would I enjoy doing the best my whole life and why?

Do I like being around people or prefer to be alone?

Do I enjoy studying or prefer to create something out of my own hands?

Do I like to live in my home country or travel abroad?

  1. Know your strengths and weaknesses

Self-awareness is such a crucial component of a successful career plan. Knowing your strengths and how to use them to your advantage can take you far in your professional life. Likewise, knowing your weaknesses also helps you to focus on working on them and choosing your career wisely.  

No matter your strengths and disadvantages, you should choose a career path that advantages your traits and qualities.

If you are someone who is excellent with logic and analysis, a career in strategy and planning may be worth considering. If you are someone who works best alone, having a sales job or managing a team may not be your best job fit. If you are someone who is passionate about learning and dislike working on computers for long hours, teaching may be a great career option for you.

  1. The career strategy

Based on your self-assessment and self-awareness exercises, you can narrow down your career options and get started on gaining some fresh ideas on how to get started.

Explore all the resources that are available to you from technology, training, social contacts, etc. Write down all that you need for a successful career such as:

  • Higher studies
  • Job experience
  • Volunteering experience
  • Network
  • Mentors
  • Daily productivity habits
  • Professional resume
  • Personal branding

Brainstorm all the different approaches that you can implement to reach your goal and zero in on the best option that works for you.

Let’s say, you are student based in Hyderabad aspiring to be a global business leader someday like Satya Nadella or Sundar Pichai. Then, studying abroad would help you realize your goal. You may want to join a reputed GRE institute in Hyderabad and get enrolled for GRE coaching. You can start with searching for a “GRE coaching near me”. This will be your early career strategy.

  1. Implement the action plan

The tactical dimension of your career plan now comes into the picture.  

Once you assess your personality, character, strengths, weaknesses, resources, you can come up with a detailed action plan.

A well-structured career plan lists the short term and long term goals as well as the deadlines and milestones. It is not just the drafting of the action plan which is essential as is its implementation.

Let’s take, for example, Anita, a Bangalore based student whose goal is to study and work abroad. Her first course of action will be to search for a trusted GMAT institute in Bangalore and find the nearest location. She can speak to one of the career counselors in the Institute for any queries before enrolling into the GMAT coaching Bangalore.

So, you need to take full responsibility for your professional life. Even though you have the plan in place, you still need to take action for the plan to realize your goals. You need a firm commitment, willpower, effort, perseverance, resilience, discipline, courage, focus and relationships to make your plan to be executed successfully and achieve the desired results.

  1. Review and Revise the plan

Your career plan is always a “work-in-progress” because you are continually evolving.  

You will need to review and revise your career plan periodically. Say every 6-12 months to stay relevant. There may be many reasons why you might want to either tweak or completely alter your career plan. From changes in your values, goals, interests, life events, industry changes, etc.

So, keep your career plan flexible to any future changes while always keeping your standards high. People with high standards are usually more successful than those with average to less than average goals in life.

Aim to be the best version of yourself always.


Having a successful career begins with having a proper career plan. We hope that the essentials for a successful career plan is useful for you.

If you need more assistance with career planning, you can contact our career experts for help. Our career experts can help you decide what you want to do. They might be able to give you many ideas for careers and the right training for it.

We would love to read your comments and know your thoughts. If you found this article useful, please like and share with your friends, and do follow our page to know when we post next. Thank you!