“Life is a road with unpredictable forks and unexpected tomorrows” — Sherman G. Finesilver.
Add the word work before life and you have a great reminder on how to look at managing our career journey. We are responsible for choosing the route, steering the direction, establishing the priorities, enjoying our experiences, adding to our expertise, and ultimately “safely” reaching our work-life goals and objectives.
Here are some “road map” signposts that came to my mind when I changed the quote to “Work-life is a road with unpredictable forks and unexpected tomorrows.”
- It is important to understand what’s important to you professionally and personally.
- It is important to be clear on what you expect from your professional life. What challenges you? What motivates you? What excites you? What matters to you?
- It is important to know the top 3-6 areas of your expertise. Which one is your favorite? What types of responsibilities, rewards and recognition do you want for the contribution you make and accomplishments you help to achieve?
- It is important to know the day-to-day must do’s of moving forward. These include knowing: How do you want to focus your energy? What skills do you want to develop; build; drop? Do you want to manage others? How do you want to spend your day? (type of working environment, size of organization, scope of products or services; type and amount of travel) What amount of time do you want to spend working autonomously or in collaboration with colleagues, clients, other functional areas? What do you expect from others?
And most importantly: What good do you want to do?