Men and Short Term Goals In Work, Career and Dating

Do you know where you're going to?  Do you like the things life is showing you?  Do you get what you're hoping for?  Where are you going to?  Do you know?

Do you recognize the Diana Ross refrain from the song Do You Know above?  More importantly, do you know?  Simply put Short Term Goals are your steps on the staircase to whatever you're trying to ascend to.  I would challenge that the negative impacts of not being heterosexual and being a person of color can devastate the goal setting process.  I would further submit that when MSM are looking for men to be with, beyond sexual partners some of the barriers and missing Good Men have to do with not a huge percentage, probably less than a third of MSM, making it over the hurdles of sexuality and race.  I would even stick my neck out even massively farther, having tested this out for years, facilitating groups and coordinating projects, that the HIV/STD rate has to do more with this than simply safe sex practices.

Yes, Short Term Goals determine the highway you drive your body/life onto and that highway (Long Term Goals) becomes your destiny.

Men, particularly men of color, particularly MSM, don't always get the tools, mentorship, networking and push that they need in order to navigate this task of advancement.  Let's break it down and maybe this will help you out, up, and if necessary, to get unstuck.

An Objective and A Goal are not the same thing.  An objective is a deliberate act to a deliberate outcome.  I'm going to the store to buy some milk for my cereal. A Goal is the overall outcome of the Objective: I'm going to have breakfast/cereal this morning.  Therefore a job is an Objective, a Career might be a Goal.  Separating the two allows you to put each in a good context.

Work: Job verses Career Definition

A job is to sustain, pay bills, get by, feed yourself.  A career is something that you're nurturing, building like a plant or a house.  Therefore a Short Term Goal around work might be I'm going to take this part time sales associate job at a department store to learn about retail.  Short Term Goals also include time frames---so you're retail job you might say I'm going to commit to doing this for 6 months to 1 year to learn about sales and retail at that level.  Now this doesn't mean you stay at the same store,  During high school I worked at Abraham & Strauss (a store similar to Macy's) here in NYC and then Lord and Taylor's a few years later in college.  In high school I'd also worked at Pathmark and Wendy's, all of them for more than 3 months so I have an understanding of the retail world at a floor service level.  Say we collapsed all of that into 2 years that I worked at all of those places, just for an example's sake---I learned about retail for 2 years.  Objective completed.  Now a Short Term Goal has been met.  If I wanted to manage or be a buyer or an executive in retail, that would be a Long Term Goal but my Objective and Short Term Goal would have served that aim.  Makes sense?


Several years ago I had a Short Term Goal of learning how to date better, to make up for some of the gaps I saw in my high school time so I planned a year to a year and a half to simply going on dates.  I quantified a date as a meal and an activity that lasted a couple of hours but didn't include sex.  I dated about 100 men in that time.  Sounds like a lot, I know.
But I learned that if you reduce that number down to 10 men, 7 of them there will be no mutual chemistry/connection/deep interest in each other.

  • Number 8 liked me, I didn't like him as much.  
  • Number 9 I liked him, he didn't like me as much.  
  • Number 10 though, the attraction was deeply mutual and several more dates and a relationship would potentially spring from that.

Now I have a great formula for dating: You're looking for 1 out of 10!  But you might have to go through 9 to meet Number 10.  Sometimes I met 10 after dating 3 or 5 or 7 but roughly it always was 1 out of 10.  This cleans up "finding" a Good Man, it's a numbers game.  When I'm doing relationship workshops, the first question I always ask is, how much are you dating?  If someone says they went on 1 date with 1 guy and they're done or pissed or hurt---I point out the formula---you haven't been in the pool enough to meet 9 more (and your picking system might be a little off.)

Short Term Goal in dating might be to date 10 men to realize my Long Term Goal of 1 Good Man for a relationship but I have to be ready to put in the work (and expense) to meet and date 9 others.

A Short Term Goal takes into account that's there's a level of experimentation occurring that you're trying something new out.  That this might not be the path you decide for life but it is something that could become something you carry over or feeds into your Long Term Goals.

(Now I know some of you might be balking at dating 10 men just to meet one Good Man but consider this: how many job interviews would you go on to get a job?  To get the right job for you? To improve your career?  To make more money?  Would you go on 10 interviews if you knew 1 of them would turn into gold?)

Short Term Bridging To Long Term Manifestation

One more example, in 2008 while teaching a 6 month certification/vocational class I was walking back with my students from a day trip to a job fair and one of them mentioned a friend on YouTube who was a singer and all the hits/viewers she was getting.  What struck me was that he mentioned that so many of the comments she got mentioned how much she was helping an inspiring others.  It occurred to me that while I was doing much the same as a teacher, I was at that program, reaching about 80 people.  I went to Best Buy and bought a webcam the next day and started taping myself at home talking about some of the stuff I taught.  A year or so before that two producers from a television show had taped some of my work at another non-profit and I really started thinking, hmmmmm, if I did online teaching videos, what would that look like?  (Short Term Goal).  Could I even broaden it to television? (Long Term Goal)  Along the way the blog and podcasts became natural additions to this very blog you're reading.

To recap:

  1. Short Term Goals contain Objectives.
  2. Short Term Goals are measurable in spans of time from 3 months to about 2 years.
  3. Short Term Goals aren't always the finished product.
  4. Short Term Goals are a level of experimentation as you figure out what works and what doesn't.
  5. Short Term Goals give you valuable information as to how to construct a Long Term Goal.
  6. Long Term Goals are built with the meeting and information from Short Term Goals.

Thank you,
Kyle Phoenix
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