As I mentioned in my last blog, with the end of the year now plainly in sight, it’s time to take stock of what 2009 has brought (and taken away, alas, for many of us). It’s also time to start thinking about what 2010 might have in store, and planning to make the most of such opportunities as may come our way.
At around this time of year, I usually recommend a bit of reflection on the recent past, and a modicum of planning for or anticipation of what lies ahead. One good way to start this process is to dust off last year’s plans and compare how you executed against them to see how far you came in meeting your objectives.
In my personal case, I scored a couple of notable wins and a couple of interesting losses. In the “Win” column, thanks to some new and very interesting customers — particularly, a couple of law firms who found my Web development books from the mid-1990s both interesting and on-target enough to seek me out as an expert witness on some patent infringement cases — I was able to reverse the horrible slide in income and activity I experienced for 2008 and get my personal and family finances back into some semblance of order. Also in the same column, I was able to revamp my current systems and network with rebuilt test and production machines all the way ’round, a new Internet gateway with cool capabilities, and a nicely upgraded/modded HP EX-475 MediaSmart server for everyday backup and extended file storage.
The “lose” column is interesting because it shows that even career advisors like me sometimes have to struggle to make progresss. Despite having signed up for the CISSP exam, I had some important projects pop up (including the aforementioned win items mentioned in the preceding paragraph) and ended up re-scheduling the exam right into 2010. I also experienced significant cutbacks from some long-time and beloved customers, including TechTarget itself (parent of this blog, who cut my monthly involvement with them by more than 50% in 2009), BestofMedia (for whose Tom’s Hardware and Tom’s Guide sites my work has also declined precipitously, along with my German-to-English translation assignments for content from the original German-language Tom’s site), and Acceller (whose video scripting work was great fun but never really paid enough to justify the time and effort that went into its creation).
I always try to enjoy my wins, and to learn from my losses. I’m developing a more lucrative and longer-term corporate client involvement right now. And I’m lucky to have a handful of (relatively new) clients who like what I’m doing for them enough not just to keep coming back for more, but also to keep upping my engagement level with them. To make that work as smoothly as possible, I’m also very pleased to report that I’ve hooked back up with one of my project managers from my previous avatar as a small-company owner/operator, and am very glad to have somebody helping me keep on the straight and narrow again.
Anyway, I hope this gives you some idea about the kinds of things you should be thinking about, reviewing, and leads you to some interesting possibilities to plan out your future in the near term. Above all, I recommend serious engagement with technical subject mattter, perhaps even in the form of pursuit of an IT cert of some kind, or a return to the classroom for some hands-on training.
May 2010 be better for all of us than 2009. I also hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are anticipating an even better Christmas/New Year season (or the holidays that figure into your personal calendar). Felicitations for that season, whatever it may be!