Career management takes time and for most of the people I work with, time is something they just don’t have.
Change, particularly career change, does not happen by itself. It used to. If you did a good job in a large and reasonably successful company, you would get tapped on the shoulder and introduced to new opportunities every year or two. If you worked hard, your career pretty much took care of itself.
Those days are behind us. Don’t get me wrong – you still have to work hard, but the opportunities to grow and develop are not going to fall in your lap. You have to be activity watching for them, be able to recognize them and sometimes, be the mastermind behind them.
This involves making a plan or at least, laying out a path with some options. Making time for something so nebulous is tough. It really can’t be done in any of your regular digs. Trying to carve out an hour at work is almost impossible, plus you feel guilty for doing it. Home has too many other things that need your attention and will always seem either more important or more immediately satisfying. Oh, and there’s the guilt, too.
So here’s the answer: find one hour, just one, when you are not home and not at work. Decide where you are going to go. Don’t go to your usual spot. It has to be different, fresh and not associated with any tasks, lists or laundry.
Make an appointment. Put it in your calendar. Put it in your phone. Put a post-it note on the fridge.
Sit and think. That’s all. If you end up with some notes or even a plan, that’s okay but not required.
I used to look at all the people working on laptops at Starbucks and wondered why there were there. Don’t they have homes or offices?
I get it now. They were thinking, planning and masterminding their next big thing.