In 2002 I began my professional speaking career. At that time, I was speaking to audiences filled with accountants about how to manage their careers more effectively.

I usually began that presentation by stating that “Most people spend more time planning a vacation or holiday than they do their own careers.”

How much time do we spend planning a break? A survey of 7,800 tourists across 26 countries, including the UK, the US and Australia, found on average people spend 10 hours planning a vacation. That’s a day and a half to two days of solid work.

Career planning is not set and forget. Considering that the average worker will change careers – not jobs but careers – five to seven times in their lifetime, imagine what you could do if you set aside just 2 days a year to plan your career?

Interestingly where career planning and vacation planning are similar is that typically people started to lose interest while planning a break, 42 minutes into the process.

Historically most people don’t spend much time thinking about their career. They simply go through doors that are open to them – without considering that these doors may lead them to a plateau – or worse – a dead end.

Many of our grandparents took their first job expecting to retire from the same company decades later and many of them did just that.

Even though the days of the gold watch are gone, a large percentage of people still operate as though the responsibility for shepherding their career lies with the organizations they work for. And they probably don’t even realize that they are operating from an old paradigm. That’s how engrained it is in our psyches.

But today it’s much more important to proactively manage your career. To take control and look ahead. Technology is rapidly changing the shape of our roles.  The skills and abilities we need to stay relevant are changing – quickly.

The World Economic Forum says that, by 2025 up to 85 million jobs will no longer exist. Not to worry though, they say that up to 97 million new jobs will be created.

It’s up to us to make sure we are prepared to make this transition.

How do you take control of your career today? Here are 5 tips to help.

1. Don’t ever make a decision at the height of an emotional situation. Most people end up running from what they don’t want instead of what they do. Make sure you get into an emotionally neutral state of mind before making any big decisions.

2. Learn about your strengths and how to spend more time playing to those. This will help you develop the abilities you need to succeed long term. Use these strengths to develop new skills.

3. Determine what you value in a new job or career. What are your non-negotiables?

4. Make sure your professional goals support and align with your personal goals. Two plus years of Pandemic induced reflection has realigned many of our priorities and we’ve decided that we want to work to live, we don’t want to live to work. We have to put our personal goals front and center.

5. Practice resilience daily. Make sure you can get back on your feet when you are inevitably knocked off. It happens to the best of us.