From Five-Year Plans to Now Plans

The hands of two people are seen holding ink pens over notepads on a table covered with a drawing of a scale with the words "life" on one side and "work, career, business" on the other with pencils and colorful paperclips scattered across and a mug of black coffee sitting nearby.

After coping with unprecedented events over the last few years, it seems individuals have given up on making long-term plans for the future. (Image: Edgars Sermulis via Dreamstime)

Not so long ago, it was quite common to find people, especially those completing their education or stepping into professional life, who were talking about five-year plans. However, things have changed a lot in the last few years. That is why people today are focusing more on “now plans.” It seems that planning for the long term is no longer a sustainable option. You will find life has become so unpredictable that you are forever coping with new challenges. Coping with unprecedented hurdles makes survival a priority and sticking to long-term plans is a thing of the past.

The viability of long-term plans is also being challenged in the job sector like never before. Employers used to prefer answers from candidates in sync with their long-term goals. They expected to hire employees who had the aim to stick around for a long time with their company. However, the business scene is also evolving rapidly, driven by customers who are more aware of their needs and technological innovations. Now business owners prefer candidates who are more capable of coping with changing work environments and adapting fast through “now plans.” 

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Employers used to expect to hire people who had the aim of sticking around for a long time. (Image: Stokkete via Dreamstime)

Fast-paced changes in the world are forcing people to look at ‘now plans’

In the last few years, the global economy has been impacted severely by unprecedented events. Uncertainty has increased in careers and personal life like never before. The pandemic, for example, has dealt a crushing blow to the long-term plans of millions of people across the globe and its repercussions continue. After coping with job loss and unexpected pay cuts, millions of people have stopped thinking of career goals. Staying in the present job is tough amidst steep competition, and for millions of college grads, finding any job is hard. So they have no time to think about planning their career goals and are instead focused on “now plans.” 

Overall, life has become more complex and unpredictable than in the past. The growing uncertainties and complications make sticking to a five-year plan impractical for many. Whereas before, people planned things like investments, career goals, settling down and buying a house, and so on, now, there are too many disruptions that make sticking to those plans impossible. Young people are facing job hurdles, unemployment, and even health risks that make them focus on the present. A lot of them are finding it more worthwhile to focus on “now plans” in the present rather than planning for the next five years. 

Young people are facing job hurdles, unemployment, and even health risks that make them focus on now plans in the present.
Young people are facing job hurdles, unemployment, and even health risks that make them focus on ‘now plans’ in the present. (Image: Planetfelicity via Dreamstime)

So what would you do in a situation when long-term career planning is no longer a viable option? Planning is not a bad thing and it helps you stay focused and motivated. But it is important that you become aware of the changing dynamics affecting the economy, careers, health, investments, etc. When stability and security in everything are scarce, the milestones in life and careers do not remain the same. It is better to chalk out short-term “now plans” that can help you cope with unforeseen developments in life and your career. It is also better if you have some backup plans ready. You will have to think about alternative career options as well.

It is now common to see many people, including working professionals, making unusual choices, deviating from long-term plans to short-term “now plans.” They no longer think of settling in life early and some of them are postponing marriage as well. The key is realizing that you have little control over many major things in life. So focusing on long-term planning will result in seeing things changing frequently, leading to stress. You have to fathom what works best for you in a landscape that is evolving and think and act accordingly.

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