Even though it may feel like 2021 is flying by, we still have plenty of time left this year to work toward some major goals. If you’re looking to give your career a boost, why not put some pen to paper and start crafting your career bucket list? There’s no reason you need to limit your bucket list to travel and recreational activities. We spend so much of our time at work that putting the time and energy into building a career that fulfills and excites you can be just as thrilling as skydiving or traveling to a new continent.
To give yourself some guidance this year, let’s walk through a few examples of goals you can put on your career bucket list in 2021. Of course, this is just a jumping-off point. It’s your career, so you’ll need to figure out what achievements and changes are important to you to work toward this year.
1. Start a side hustle you’re excited about
We chose our words carefully here, the reason we think starting a side hustle “you’re excited about” is a good thing to potentially add to your career bucket list is because you should have fun with your side hustle! We all know that the hustle culture we’re living in has gotten a bit toxic in the past few years, so it’s important to only take on a side hustle if it won’t jeopardize your wellness. One major way to make a side hustle feel fun and like a profitable hobby instead of an extra job is to choose something you’re really excited to do. You should want to work on your side hustle, not feel like you have to. If you think a side hustle is something you should add to your bucket list this year, try to choose one you’re really excited about. Not sure how to get started? Here’s what to do if you end up pursuing a side hustle this year!
2. Find a mentor
Careers are tricky and as supportive as friends and family tend to be, you can’t always turn to them for advice if they’re unfamiliar with your industry or job. Finding a mentor that has experience in your chosen career path, in your industry, or at your current company, can help you gain objective insight that comes from experience. This isn’t to say that people who provide mentorship support are career genies who know all the answers, but as they’re generally further along in their careers, they can speak from experience on some of the struggles you may be going through.
If you don’t see any of your existing relationships evolving into a mentoring opportunity this year, it’s always okay to be upfront about your search for a mentor. People are generally happy to help. Reach out to someone you admire on LinkedIn and ask to meet for coffee. If all goes well, you can request to continue consulting them about career issues. You can also ask someone you respect at your company if you can come to them with career questions from time to time. Being upfront will help make sure you’re on the same page. For more tips on finding a mentor, read this helpful article!
3. Be a mentor
On the flip side, if you’re in a place in your career where you can give back to someone who is younger or new to your industry, then reach out and offer to lend a helping hand. So many people are afraid to ask for help, so if you feel like you can provide guidance and support to someone who needs it, you can make the first move. You can always consider joining an official mentorship program that helps teens find their way or can simply offer to have coffee with that newbie in the office who likes to ask a lot of questions. Will becoming a mentor give you a career boost? Maybe, maybe not! Even if you don’t benefit directly from your mentoring efforts, helping others is always a good thing to do.
4. Master a new skill
As nice as it would be, you’re not going to get a raise or promotion every year, no matter how good you are at your job. As tempting as it is to focus on short-term goals, sometimes you need to pivot to devoting your energy to longer-term ones. Mastering a new skill this year will allow you to work toward goals that may be a bit farther off, while gaining the satisfaction of achieving something in the here and now. Take an online course, sign up for a professional certification program, or ask your manager if you can spearhead a new project that is a bit out of your wheelhouse. Gaining new skills now will make your larger goals easier to achieve and can be really fun and engaging. Here are a few ideas for in-demand career skills you can aim to build this year!
5. Find work-life balance
We’re all for hustling hard and busting your butt to meet your goals, but we’re also really big fans of taking a break when we need it. You can’t burn the midnight oil night after night, so make sure you’re working toward your career goals in a way that supports your wellness. There is a line between working to live and living to work, and that’s finding a work-life balance you’re happy with. Evaluate your commitments, your schedule, and your personal goals this year to see how you can find a balance that helps you feel your best. If a raise is off the table at work this year due to budget constraints (a familiar story for many in light of recent events), ask for help achieving work-life balance instead. Think—a more flexible schedule, more work-from-home days, or time off each month to volunteer for a cause that’s important to you. These tech tips are also a great starting point for finding more work-life balance!
6. Plan your next big career move
Hopefully, your career will span many happy years, so there’s no need to feel the pressure to achieve all of your goals right now. As cool as all those 30 under 30 lists are, they’ve set an unrealistic standard that we have to be at the peak of our careers in our twenties. Let’s push those thoughts aside and focus on the long game. If you can identify what you want your next big career move to be, you’re off to a great start. Finding clarity and direction for your career is a major achievement. Start thinking about what you want to achieve in 2022 and beyond, so you can start planning the steps you need to take to get there. Need some help setting career goals? This guide can help!
7. Invest in yourself
Let’s end this list of career bucket list suggestions on a purposely vague note. While we can’t tell you what should be on your bucket list, we strongly suggest adding “invest in yourself” to the top of the list. What investing in yourself means will vary depending on your needs and goals. For some, it might be going back to school. For others, it may be leaving work early twice a month to go to therapy. Maybe you need to commit to going to bed earlier or want to hire a career coach to help you during your upcoming job search. Whatever you need, give it to yourself in 2021, and we’re confident your career will benefit as a result.