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Enjoying Nature

Career Goals



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Where to Start

It's easy to start your career goals with statements like "I want to be rich and famous."

Sure, for those of you with plans to make millions as a famous movie star, a world-class athlete, a professional gamer, or a prominent YouTuber, we won't tell you it won't happen. But let's just set up a backup plan. 

For the rest of you, let's be realistic about how to begin. Your career is a vehicle to help you achieve your life goals. Knowing what you want from life will help you to determine the kind of career that can help you get there.  Your career will affect your earning potential, flexibility, and options available to you. 

Map Your Career

Where do you want to be in 10 years? 20 years? 

These are tough questions. But it's where you want to start. You can improve your chances of success if you know where you want to go and work backward. A Career Map may help. Check out this resource from to help you out. 

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Consider What It Takes

As you consider the type of career to pursue, you may want to think about how much you need to earn.  Different careers make different salaries.  Consider these questions: 

  • What kind of house do you want to live in?

  • What kind of car do you want to drive? 

  • Where do you want to live?

  • Do you want a family? If so, how many kids?

  • How do you want to live?

  • What kinds of vacations do you want to take?

  • What kind of clothes do you want to wear?

Depending on your answers, you'll want to consider the type of career it will take to get what you want. Keep in mind that you will not get everything all at once. You start at the bottom and work your way up. Still, if you know what you want, you can choose your career and build a pathway to achieve your goals. 

How Much Do I Need to Earn?

See the minimum salary you'll need to earn to pay for basic everyday needs (without public assistance). Visit Washington State's Self-Sufficiency Calculator

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What Do You Like to Do?

Life is too short to have a job you don't like. 

Ideally, you should find something that you like to do and that you can make money doing. This is part of career exploration – to learn about the different careers that are available to you that match your interests.  Chances are there are several you would do great at.


Your first step is to make a list of your hobbies, interests, and possible careers that may be of interest to you. If you don't know where to start, consider the resources available to you on the Career Assessment and the Career Explore pages.  They have tools for you to explore several options.


Once you identify your list of things you like to do, start to match up the types of careers that make sense. Even if you don't have a clear path laid out, it's time to set some goals about what you want from your career.

What Steps Should I Take?

My Career plan

Your First Step is to consider what you like to do, where you want to go, and what you want out of life. 

These will lay the building blocks for the rest of your goals and pathway. 

set career goals

Next, what do you want to accomplish? Where do you want to be in 10 years? 5 years? Next year? 

You don't have to figure out your entire life. You can start small or look far into the horizon to set your goals.

career resources

With a direction in mind, consider what resources are available to help you achieve your goals. This can include training, education, and other sources to support your journey to success. 

career planning

Failing to plan is planning to fail. The same applies with your career. Take the time to map yout your next steps. Identify your best pathway, programs, and "next steps" to help you get to your destination.

Your lifelong planning

Life is all about moving forward, but it is not in a straight line. You will always need to adjust, learn, and adapt. Recognize that you will need to be flexible with your plan and build in the ability to "pivot" as needed.

  • Make a list of things you like to do. (Hobbies, activities, job interests, etc.)

  • What careers align with your interests? 

  • What pathways are available where you can support yourself?

  • How can you do what you love while making a living??

  • Where do you want to live?

  • What kind of a job do you want to have? 

  • What kind of work do you want to do?

  • How much do you want to make? ?

  • What kind of education will you need?

  • Is there specialized training needed to be qualified? 

  • Are there industry certifications needed? 

  • Can I find a mentor to give me guidance? ?

  • What can I do today to be most prepared to succeed?

  • Who should I talk to for help in my preparations?

  • What steps can I take to become qualified for the career I want?

  • What should I be aware of so I am the best candidate when the time comes? 

  • What are "best practices" of the most successful people?

  • Are there additional training events that I should be aware of? 

  • What do leaders in the industry do that others may not? 

  • How can I continue to get ahead and promote? ?

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