As 2009 comes to a close, it is a good time to review your career progress over the past twelve months. Although this might be part of an annual review process with your employer, it is also a helpful exercise for anyone, regardless of age or work environment.
In addition to a chance to look back over the year’s highlights, now is also a good opportunity to think prospectively about what you want to accomplish in 2010.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What were my most significant professional accomplishments? Try to list 3 or 4 things that you can point to with pride.
- What new skills did I develop or refine? How did I use them? (For example, new practice skills, different types of clients, expanded areas of business, ways of using technology in your work, etc.)
- What were my biggest professional challenges? How did I handle them? Would I do anything differently? If so, why?
- How does where I am at in my professional work match with my expectations last year? How do things compare? Why?
- Next year at this time, where do you want to be professionally? This could be focused on skill development, business growth, job or geographic change—whatever or wherever you envision yourself in a year.
The simple process of putting down some answers to these questions can help you gain valuable perspective on your professional life. Looking back is the first step to figuring out where you want to go, whether or not you are pleased with how things went this year.
For many people, this has been a frustrating time professionally. While it is impossible to change the economy, it is possible to control how you navigate things.
Setting out some goals for 2010, even if they boil down to “get a paying job”, can help you start to think about what next steps you need to take to make them a reality.