With the end of 2008 now less than three months off, and 2009 chugging resolutely into view on the horizon, it’s time to lift your eyes from the day-to-day near horizon of workaday life, and look a bit further out at the bigger career picture. This means asking questions such as:
- How much longer do I want to keep doing what I’m doing?
- What might I want to do next? (To make things easy on yourself, pick no more than three answers to this question.)
- What must I do to prepare myself to meet those goals? Pay special attention to related training, certification, or degrees that might be required or helpful in reaching your goals.
With this kind of information at your disposal, career planning and development becomes less of a “what if?” exercise, and more of a “how do I get where I need to go?” exercise. Of course, upon examination of the latter items, you may (and probably will) end up abandoning some or all of your anwers to the second item above. But as you zero in on what’s important to you, and what it’s going to take to start making some progress in that direction, you’ll also create a blueprint that will let you start to take action as well.
Life is entirely too drab without the dreams and fantasies that often sustain us when things aren’t going as well as they might. But nothing beats investing in yourself by making definite plans for improvement, and then acting upon them. I think it’s a good idea to indulge in this kind of behavior at least once a year, and hope you will get in the habit as you start thinking about a new year and all the other new (and hopefully improved) things it can bring into your life.
For more details and information on this process, please see my article “Annual IT career checkups help you control your future” at SearchWinIT.