How to Discuss Your Career Goals with your Boss

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Published on December 2, 2020 by

While you might want to be the CEO someday… just coming out and saying “Boss… I want to be the CEO” isn’t really the bullet train to success. In this video I’ll share 4 do’s and 4 don’ts to help convey your career goals effectively. There could be 3 ways this conversation comes up….
1 – If you work in a large organizations, you’ll likely have some sort of regular performance review where your boss will ask you to write some sort of “Career Goals.”
2 – This question often comes up interviews… where they ask you “What are your career goals? Or where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
3 – Or you bring it up
Why: If your boss knows what your goals are… they may take actions to help you achieve it, or may give you suggestions on actions you should take to achieve it. In the flip side… they might not… but they certainly CAN’T if they don’t know what your goals are.

Don’t:
1 – Directly say that you want your boss’ job. It just makes things weird. Unless you know for sure your boss is leaving soon and is looking for a replacement.
2 – Say you want a position that there is only one of in the organization, especially if somebody else JUST got that position. “I want to be the company’s CIO in the next 5 years”. It simply isn’t something your boss can help you achieve. If you REALLY want to be a CIO and that title is important to you… it might be better to look outside because when you look across ALL companies there are lots of CIO openings… at your employer, likely only one.
3 – Do NOT write your goal is something completely unrelated to your employer. For example, if your job right now is a software engineer, your goal shouldn’t be a “celebrity chef” — your boss might just tell you to leave their office immediately and go pursue your real passion. Your boss can’t help you achieve this, and it will just put doubts in their head about whether you are committed to the organization and whether you’ll be quitting soon.
4 – Don’t be negative in your goals: For example, do not write “I don’t like politics, therefore I do not want to be involved in budget meetings, vision meeting, any foo foo meetings….

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