I had a colleague once tell me his friend had a short-term career goal of becoming a Vice President before his 30th birthday; VP b30. I was 26 or 27 at the time, and was an AVP at a Fortune 50 company. It got me thinking…I wonder if I could be a VP by 30.
Why the hell not?
Now, chances are you’ve already judged this poor fella, and me too, for having a title-driven goal. It’s similar to basing goals on salary — it’s seen as petty, short-sighted, and potentially a symptom of bad motives.
But you know what…?
Most people have them, we just know we’re not supposed to talk about them. Worse yet, because of the stigma, we are afraid to ask for what we feel we are worth, salary and/or title.
So I made the goal/mantra my own, VP before 30. There are reasons why the title mattered in my unique scenario which I’ll unpack later. For now, let me share a bit of wisdom I received during this process that is in this same vein.
I have received two pieces of timeless and rewarding advice from a former sports agent and current executive coach. One was:
If you feel you’re worth it, ask for it.
Don’t dial back your aspirations because you aren’t certain of the reaction you’ll receive. How people respond is not yours to worry about — if you have a goal in mind, get after it. And remember, you’re sure to get none of the things you don’t ask for.
Screw the stigma and ask yourself if there is a title that would accelerate your career path? If the answer is yes, go for it. It can make for a short-term and clearly definable career goal. If it happens, it happens, and if not, you’ll learn a lot along the way.