What’s Next…For My Career

My Thursday morning (yesterday) before work started like any other day. I ignored my alarm for awhile, eventually got up & ready, and sat down to eat breakfast & read blogs. Besides reading posts from a few of my regular blogs, I decided to get caught up on reading The Student Affairs Collaborative. While I was reading the post, “Insatiable Drive – For Better or Worse?” I came across the following question. How do you define success?

Think about it. How do you define success?

The question stuck with me through most of the day. I don’t really have an answer, but it did make me think about one of the items on my 29 for 29 list that I’ve been avoiding. Figuring out my next career goal. For a long time, my career goal has been to become a career counselor. That’s how I graduated from undergrad. It helped me get through my detour into the real world. It’s what drove me to do my best in grad school. Now, this career goal has been met.

During my first year at UMD, it didn’t really bother me that I didn’t know know what was next. I was busy learning my new job/school/community/state. Then, I went to the ACPA National Convention last March. I attended a session on planning your professional life. The key thing that stuck with me was – think about what you want to do in 20 years and how are you going to use the next 2 years to help you get there? Once I started thinking about it, I kind of got a little panicked because I didn’t know. That’s how figuring out a career goal got onto the list. Futuristic is one of my Strengths. I like to see the whole picture & how it will look in the future. I’m driven by, “What’s next?” To be honest, it has freaked me out to not have a plan of what to work for next.

Well, after ruminating on all of this most of Thursday, I finally sat down and thought about what I wanted. It wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t easy either. I started with thinking about some of my major responsibilities – social media and supervising the Peer Educators in my office. I wrote down what I do. Then, I thought about what it would be nice to do. And then there were goals.

Here is what I decided upon for my next career goals:

  1. Own the roles I’ve been given and/or fallen into.
  2. Grow in my roles, be awesome, & enjoy them.
  3. Learn as much as I can about social media and leadership.

What do you think?


9 thoughts on “What’s Next…For My Career

  1. Jessi says:

    #1 and #2 have always been hard for me. I don’t have futuristic in my top five, but “what’s next?” (Oh yeah President Bartlet!) has always been my mantra as well. I just never had much direction for it–only the impatience that comes with being an activator!

    I think that #1 and #2 are crucial to personal happiness, let alone professional success. If we’re too busy worrying about yesterday or tomorrow, we miss the beauty and fulfillment in today. I say this as someone who sucks at putting this into action, but it’s definitely something I’m working on, too. (And if I’m supposed to have had this figured out by 30, then I guess I’m 5-going-on-6 years behind…)

    • ellenhatfield says:

      Jessi, I thought you’d enjoy my Pres Bartlet reference! I agree that #1 & #2 are both crucial to personal & professional happiness. Just because I love my job now doesn’t mean I want to become complacent. We should help each other out put this jazz into action. Accountability (higher ed’s new middle name…).

      • Jessi says:

        I thought “Assessment” was our middle name these days… LOL

        Sure, we can keep each other accountable. You just tell me how we should do that. Hee.

        Actually, one thing I’m doing is using my drive home as deliberate processing time. It’s only about 10 minutes, but I go over the day, consider the successes/failures, and mentally “close the books” on the day. Then I can be more focused on home when I’m home. I do the same thing on the way in–if there were challenges at home the previous night, I put those away as well so that I can be present for students & colleagues.

        It’s a work in progress, but it’s helping me to be more mindful of where I am and what’s needed of me in that place. And it also helps to take inventory of the day and celebrate the small victories where I can.

      • ellenhatfield says:

        Assessment, accountability, retention, gradation rates… we have several middle names these days. 😉 That’s great that you get that time each day as you come into work or going home to decompress & prepare yourself for what’s next (not intentional reference, but made me laugh inside). As for how to help each other out…intentional check-ins might work. Meeting for coffee once a month. Just a thought.

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