Jobs vs Careers - Return on Investment
ROI (return on investment) is a business term that references the bottom line: after all of your work and effort, is it worth it? Put another way, if you put $10 into a machine and get a dollar’s worth of product, the return was not good for what you spent. After you have spent your time at college taking courses, what will be the outcome after graduation? The better you plan your career and life after school, the greater the results will be.
The best time to plan is before you start. However, if you haven’t decided what you want to be by the end of your time at HFCC, now is a good time. This summer I had the opportunity to be an entrepreneur. After three months, I realized I had taken advantage of a good business opportunity, but I did not have a plan for start-up and operational costs. My plans were only involved with the time after profit margin becomes greater than operation costs. In other words, I did not have a solid business plan.
I did have a better functioning plan for my career outcome. The summer business was to be an investment venture. My objective was to have the business operating without me within six months. Then I would complete my course work at school. This meant I might not be going to school in the fall but would resume in the winter semester. All of these decisions were in my head, but not yet on paper. Having things written out makes them concrete. My career goals are still evolving and my final plans have not been fully established.
A key item in a business plan is dates and times for inputs, outputs, and outcome and results. If you are not sure of what you want, convincing an employer or financial institution to invest in you will be a hard sell. During the summer, I was working part-time while trying to run my business. I had a financial reserve for a business investment but that was used up within a month and staff and operation needs began to use up my part-time job income. Working at the business gave me a working premise of what the business needed to survive and eventually reach a profit. The question was, what were the risks, and did the outcome warrant the risk?
When I considered the internship, comparable considerations had to be addressed. Unlike the business, there would be no money coming in, but the business financial responsibilities would not be mine. Did I want to defer my internship for another semester? What experience would the internship provide toward my career goals? What life outcomes and time frames was I shooting for?
Each job and course had to serve some purpose as best they could toward my end goals. I lined up my results and their time frames side-by-side and made my decision based on what my ROI would be and how well my decision would impact my five-year plan.
Many of you may not plan to own your own business, but you should still take ownership of your life. The more you plan how to live, the better your results.