To do so would completely invalidate an organized and
disciplined approach to accomplishment—and likely considerably suboptimize your potential for yourself and for
As you go through the process, enlist a trusted confidante
and mentor. Not a buddy from work, probably, but someone who will tell you hard truths, help you think through
options, and be a rock when extraneous events threaten
Be prepared to sacrifice, along with working like an
indentured servant. A pay cut may be the price of gaining
other industry experience. A lateral move might be the
painful way to pick up a necessary functional skill. Family
time could suffer if additional education will unlock a here-tofore-sealed door.
It’s easy to get tangled up in the priorities and objectives
of an employer. Make no mistake, you’ve got to deliver
value there, both as an obligation to the organization that
ultimately pays the bills and to acquire what you need to
keep moving forward with your personal development and
But if you abandon your own plan to devote your all to
your employer’s plan(s), you are likely not becoming as
valuable as you might be to that employer and quite possibly diminishing your chances of moving on to another
opportunity in another setting.
Do be careful to sidestep the trap that sacrifices all in
order to meet your plan. Too many postpone quality time,
family time, along the path, thinking that it will all pay off
in the end. Wrong! Lots of little payoffs in enjoyment, in
play, in being a spouse and parent must be taken to keep an
emotional balance along the difficult run to the goal line.
Don’t forget to plan the succeeding stages of professional
life, to avoid Ross Perot’s giant sucking sound when you
leave active corporate employment. Transitions and roles
into the next incarnations are vital to mental health and
happy longevity. Forget, btw, your father’s idea of retirement; Florida, golf, eternal sunshine, and group activities
at the “active living community” are all components of a
short cut to the end of one’s days—a form of suicide by
THE END OF THE LINE
So, here we are at the end of the plan’s line. Time to get off
the bus at the intended stop. But wait! This isn’t where you
planned to go. All this, and you’ve failed?
Not really. Your end of the line is, if not exactly what and
Art van Bodegraven may be reached at (614) 893-9414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read his blog at http://blogs.dcvelocity.com/the_art_of_art/. Kenneth B.
Ackerman, president of The Ackerman Company, can be reached at (614) 488-
3165 or email@example.com.
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where you’d planned, somewhere along the path that you
laid out and you controlled. It is not a place you landed by
happenstance, tossed about by the swells, waves, and vicissitudes of the seas of change.
This trip, as we so often discover, is much more about
the journey than it is the specific destination. It begins with
the superficially simple question of what you want to be
when you grow up. And you get to ask—and answer—that
question over and over again, as you grow, progress, and see
more clearly over time.
Just about the last thing you want and need—and
deserve—is a firm handshake and a cheap watch of someone else’s choosing to close the story of your professional
life. So, hop on the bus, Gus.