When you're first getting started in your career (or several years before you graduate), many people may ask what your five-year plan is. Rather than having a strict plan you absolutely must adhere to, be flexible and allow yourself to respond to career opportunities you might not expect.
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As Anna Bond, founder of Rifle Paper Co explains, you can't always predict what sort of career opportunities are going to come your way. By nature, you're the most inexperienced early on in your career, so defining your trajectory before you start is a bit like starting a road trip without looking at a map. While having a plan is good, it's also important to stay flexible:
We still don't make plans very far in advance because it's really important to be nimble and be able to react to opportunities that come up very quickly and sort of change course if you need to. I feel like we've done that a lot. Sometimes the unexpected will come up and we'll be like, 'Oh, this is actually a great decision — it's not what we were planning, but let's just go for it,' and it may change the course of what we were intending, but it ends up being great for the company.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you can't have a plan. It does, however, mean that you should be ready to throw out the plan when a good idea comes your way. That may be harder to do if the plan feels comfortable to you, but some of the best career opportunities tend to come from avenues you might not expect.