Five-year plans

Earning master's degree to move up professionally

Me, with my parents, after graduating with my master’s degree

When I was 23 or so I had a job but like most people my age, it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. I knew I could do more and I was hungry to have that job where you can really use your brain and make a difference. So I made a five-year plan. I can’t find a copy of it now, but it went something like this:

1. Ask people I know, admire, and are at a level I aspire to be at to mentor me professionally.
2. Get my master’s degree, tailoring my studies to work that would advance my career knowledge/skills as much as possible.
3. Tell my boss I wanted to do more and ask for more work.
4. Regularly read about topics that pertain to where I want to go professionally and immerse myself in the important books, newspapers, and periodicals of the industry.

And like a lot of five-year plans, it happened, just like that. Although my job title didn’t change immediately, my level of happiness did because I was doing things that I knew mattered and would help in the long run. And the promotions did come, one after another.

It’s been eight years since I wrote that plan and I haven’t felt compelled to write another one. Not that I’ve settled into my career (I’ve continued to get promotions and grow), but just that I haven’t felt the need for a list’s guidance in shaping my life.

But I am there again, and this time, it’s motivated by career, but also family.

So here it is, Internet:

My Five-Year Plan
1. Buy a new car, one that will serve our family through the next 7 years
2. Move to a bigger house, the one we can settle into for the next 10 or so years
3. Find a combination of work/jobs between my husband and I that provides the kind of life we want for our family (one that’s financially comfortable and as flexible as possible).
4. Have another baby!

The lynchpin of the plan is really #3 (well, #4 too, but I know how to go about achieving that goal) I have a few ideas about how to get started, like broadening my skill set and doing some research with people I know who have kids and finding out how they manage work/life balance. I expect I’ll figure out a lot more things I’ll need to do to get at that goal, but it’s a start for now.

You have to start somewhere, right?
All right, universe – let the magic commence!

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