The Career Planning Process - Creating an Action Plan
First we looked at your Current Situation and Your Dreams.
Then we examined the questions
of Who Am I?, and What Are My Options? Next we explored
Evaluating Options and Making Choices. Now we'll develop an Action Plan
to get you what you want.
In the previous article Michael, an Artisan Performer, decided to pursue a dual goal of becoming a male
nurse and becoming an economically successful musician. To do this, he will be signing up
for college courses in the fall and will take the required courses in Freshman English,
Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology so he can see how he likes the courses. These
courses are required before being considered for the nursing program.
Now he needed an Action Plan to improve his situation as a musician. The parts of an
Action Plan are 1) Goal; 2) Need being fulfilled; 3) Visions and measurements of success;
4) Resources available; 5) Activities leading to success; 6) Obstacles to overcome;
7) Steps to take & dates of completion for each.
Some items were easier than others for Michael. His 1) Goal was to become a successful
musician. His 2) Need being fulfilled was to prove to himself that he liked being
a musician enough to put in the hard work to make it happen and that people would pay
to hear his music. 3) Visions were easy as he thought of a crowded room of people
listening to him and his band play - but measurements of success was much harder. He
finally decided that he needed to make money to consider himself a successful musician
so earnings would be his measurement. He talked with his other band members and they
all agreed that they wanted to earn enough money each month to be able to pay their rent,
food, and transportation to gigs. This was a tall order because all were living at home
and somewhat dependent upon their parents housing and feeding them. Sure they paid their
car insurance, gas money, entertainment, and eating out, but that wasn't enough to be
Now that they had an economic measurement, the band looked at resources available.
One family had a website so they could demo their music. All band members decided they
would work on increasing their contacts. Michael took the lead on being the booking manager.
Rick was already their arranger. Steve was artistic and he took over the visual PR, and so
it went until all band members took a role. Then each person decided upon the activities
he would take to make all the band members self sufficient.
Obstacles to overcome included parental resistance to putting so much time into this
effort, having too small a repertoire to fill bigger contracts, and needing a few better
instruments. The list was long and somewhat discouraging, but they persevered.
Each band member devised a set of steps that he would take and set a goal for
competition. Sometimes the dates had to be revised, and some steps needed to be
redesigned. At the end of three months, the band had more gigs secured, one new
instrument purchased, and their repertoire enlarged. While they had not reached
the economic goal that they set yet, they were encouraged by their progress.
They reviewed their plan, tweaked it and decided to see where they were three months
later. The band members found that music had become more than just a fun hobby.
They might really be able to make music a career.
Action plans are not static and they need to be tailored to each type of person
and their needs. Some people are very goal oriented and love to live by dates.
Others need more flexibility and dates are more guidelines than set in stone. The
key element is to have something you want, some measurement of success and some plan
for getting from where you are to where you want to be. If you find out you don"t
like that new place, then make a different plan. You don't need to be stuck where
you don't want to be. But if you keep on doing what you are presently doing, you
won't get anyplace new. Action plans are best if they are not painful, but hopeful