Sunday, October 6, 2013

Personal Development

Recently, I've started taking more time to think about the future. A couple months ago, I sat down with my boss for my Mid-Year Review. For those of you that don't know, a mid-year review is essentially a meeting to review your performance goals (both individual and team), your job satisfaction, and your personal development. This mid-year review was not very different from others I've had in the past. We reviewed the goals and job satisfaction with no big surprises. And then something made me stop. He asked me about my personal development plans. I panicked. I'd never really been asked about my longterm personal development plans outside of college. Those plans were foiled once I realized no one was going to pay for a Straight B+ student to get her PhD and I wasn't willing to commit to that amount of debt.

I left the meeting with a question ringing in my head: "What are my longterm personal development plans?" And so, for the first time in far too long, I sat down and actually thought about the future. And not just in a vague, "I wonder what it'll be like in ten years?", but actually sat down and made some plans and outlined next steps. 

The irony of this situation is that I've never done this before. Never even had someone suggest it. I thought maybe it was just something that I hadn't done, but I started asking around to friends and, sure enough, I was starting to see a pattern. 

Here's the thing. As a society, we tell women that they don't need career plans. Oh, sure, we have increased enrollment of women in college and more women are getting college degrees. But how many of them are asked, encouraged, or guided by their friends, parents, or advisors to actually make a career plan? And how few of those actually follow through on the career plans they make? How many women go to college to get a degree that ends up collecting dust?

And that is what I'm trying to change. It may not be the direction people expect of me. And it is definitely not what I thought I would be doing when I first started working. But this new plan of mine? It's a good plan. It's a sound plan. And most of all? It's mine. My plan for my future for my happiness. And that's incredibly empowering. 
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