If I don’t recover from this one, I could pay years of penance, not just suffer through one dismal tax year. My earning potential is something I need to carefully nurture, and that’s why I’m kicking myself for:
5. Failing to Remain Competitive Within My Field
In a way, this is the number one disservice I’ve done myself in 2007. I worked impossibly hard at my day job, but I truly let it become my focus, allowed corporate goals to become the whole of my career goals.
This means I’ve gotten kudos on some fine achievements within my company, but this truly doesn’t mean much outside of it. And I need my skills to be appreciated and relevant not just within my little corporate microcosm, but within the industry at large.
A friend of mine really helped me to gain some perspective on this recently. She advised:
“You need to consider not how many projects you’ve done each year, but how much what you’d put on your resume has changed between this year and last, and what you expect to change for next year. Regardless of how hard you’re working, ultimately you need to make documentable progress every single year.”
Besides being able to add +1 to my years of experience in various areas, I need to look at my career progress holistically and ensure that each year I am adding new skills and experiences/areas of expertise to my resume. If I’m no longer growing my talents, I need to seriously consider making a move, either within my company or beyond it. This is a tricky thing to do because I honestly enjoy my job and the people I work with, but I ultimately cannot afford to let my skills atrophy, especially since my work is technically oriented. Adding a side project could also help to expand and grow my capabilities and experience.
As you know, I invested a lot in attaining a quality education and advanced degrees, but now I need to continue investing in my career even though I have obtained a demanding and fulfilling job. It sounds so simple, yet somehow I’ve fallen way off course. It’s just so hard to find the time, especiallly when you lack motivation because you’re already settled into your role.
I’m going to start by writing out an action plan for getting my skills back up to snuff. Once I have established clear, S.M.A.R.T. goals, I will set aside at least 30 minutes a day to focus (no multitasking!) on these efforts, whether reading industry publications, attending training, pursuing a skill-building project or networking to learn the latest strategies.
I’ve been considering this topic quite a bit, and will be sharing some of my concrete plans and tactics for getting back into the game and remaining competitive in the coming weeks.
Published or updated January 9, 2008.