Almost everyone has a bucket list of things they want to do before they die. Even if they haven’t written it down it’s etched in the back of their brain somewhere. Most of the list items are extreme or extremely expensive and most likely will never be scratched off the final to-do list.
Instead of making a life list of things to do before you kick the bucket, I suggest you make a career specific bucket list. Go ahead and write down everything you want to do at work before you retire or die, whichever comes first.
Go ahead and make it grandiose. Add extreme wishes like becoming C.E.O. of a Fortune 500 company or starting your own non-profit that provides aid for millions of people across the planet or protects the tiniest species ever discovered.
Think big, like working with a pioneer in your particular field. For me, collaborating with John Lasseter would be pretty high up on the list. Maybe it’s not who you meet but what you make that matters most to you. Include any products or processes that you would like to produce to make the world a better place or at least make you a ton of cash.
Don’t skimp on the numbers. Put it out there that you want to earn one million, no, one billion dollars if that’s important to you. If a six figure salary will do, then that’s okay too. Perhaps it’s not the amount but the time that is more valuable so stick an item on the list for early retirement.
Make sure you remember to include work wishes that are more attainable too. Things like being able to work from home or using all of your vacation days every year can be just as rewarding as bringing home the big bucks.
Once you’ve accounted for every last detail on your career bucket but before you start scratching stuff off, take a second to stack it from smallest to biggest on the “In Your Dreams” scale. It’s important to strive for extreme success but it’s the small steps that will get you there and keep you at the top.
Give yourself the opportunity to let things go when they are no longer a priority. There’s no rule against making modifications as you go along. When I was young my career bucket list included owning a pet store but, now, as an adult, that’s not something I want to do anymore so I just own a lot of pets.
Don’t get disappointed if you can’t conquer every challenge you set out for yourself. Let your list grow with you. The great thing about a bucket list, for life or career, is that it’s a living document that is constantly subject to change.