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Are Your Career Goals Hurting Your Family?


Businesswoman listening to headphones at desk
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As a working mother, you have dual priorities. You have kids to raise, and you also have to keep your career on track. Sometimes your career may take a backseat to your motherhood duties, causing you to miss out on promotions and other career advancing opportunities.

So how can you reach your career goals while still fulfilling all your motherhood responsibilities? Take note of the following tips to help you reach all your career goals.

Outline Clear Goals. Before you can reach your career goals you need to clearly identify them. Know what you're going after, so you can devise a plan to get there. So if your career goal is to become a partner of the law firm for which you're currently an associate, have that goal in mind as you plot all your important career moves. In addition to long-term goals, like making partner, list your near-term goals as well, like representing your company at a trade show or increasing your direct client contact.

Devise a Plan. Once you've identified your career goals, devise a plan that will help you reach them. The plan can be general or detailed, but should include steps you will take to reach your ultimate career goals. Think of it as a pathway toward your goal. Identify each step you need to take to get further on your pathway toward your ultimate career goals. Communication with your boss during this process, getting buy-in and also making sure each step is realistic -- and on her radar screen.

Write Down Your Career Plan. In the era where much of our communication is through e-mail and texting, we write more today than ever before. But when it comes to career goals, you often formulate them in your mind. When your career goals aren't written down, there's no reminder of these goals on a daily basis. Hence, you can easily get side tracked. If you write down your career goals and store them on the desktop of your computer, in the notes on your iPhone or on a post it on the refrigerator, it will be a daily reminder of the path you need to take to reach your career goals.

Devise A Timeline. While it's good to set goals, you also need to give yourself a timeframe for reaching them. If you desire to reach your ultimate career goals in one year, then give yourself a timeframe for each step. For example, you may need to reach your first step in three months. This step may be to get 10 new clients as a sales manager.

Now that your goals are clear cut, you need to stay motivated to achieve each outlined step. Here are a few things to remember when working toward your career goals:

Set Realistic Goals. Don't set unattainable goals for yourself. Smart goals begin with being truthful to yourself. If you desire to write and publish a bestselling book. Begin writing it. Stick with it. If you finish it and a publisher buys it, that's a huge achievement. However, don't fret if it's not the top of the bestseller list. The fact that you wrote and published a book is a major milestone. If this book isn't your bestseller, maybe your next one will be.

Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew. We've all heard this expression, but as working mothers we commonly find ourselves being the perfect example of this old cliché. If you want to become a managing partner at your company, but you have newborn to care for and breastfeed, that career goal may take ten years to reach instead of the four years it may have taken you before you became a working mother. Give yourself credit for all the responsibilities you juggle on a daily basis. Carefully map out a plan, rather than stressing about reaching your career goals while taking care of the kids and your household. Allow yourself to do everything in moderation.

Don't Neglect The Other Areas of Your Life. If reaching your career goals means letting the nanny spend quality time with your kids while you work many hours of overtime, maybe this isn't the best career goal for you at this particular time in your life. No one is saying working mothers can't be chief executive officers, politicians and successful businesswomen, but make sure you can balance your work duties with your home and personal life. You wouldn't want to miss out on important milestones in your child's life to get a promotion in three months that you would likely get in one year's time anyway.

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