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What's Important to You?

Posted on December 5, 2019
illustration of what look like Polaroid pictures with the letters I M P O R T A N T spelled out and tacked to a wall.

'Tis the season when many people begin to think about their resolutions and the upcoming new year and all of the opportunities it may hold. Personally, I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions because according to Inc. 80% of people end up ditching their resolutions. So, instead of developing likely-to-fail resolutions, how about focusing on what is important to you.

Three things to consider as you think about what’s important to you.

  1. How do you want to treat others – we interact with people a great deal in our personal and work lives and you should take the time to think about how you want to treat others. At work, do you show your respect for others? Or are you one of the group who chats about others in less than glowing terms? How do you treat those who support the work you do – administrative staff, custodial staff? The reality is – how you treat others says much about you, so take the time to think about how you treat others because your next position may involve direct reports or more direct reports. Spend time thinking about how your interactions impact their lives. Will you be supportive? Empathetic? Compassionate? Firm? Transparent? Or will you be short? Self-concerned? Lack compassion? You get the point.
  2. Work/life balance – each one of us has a different sense of what that balance should be and there is no perfect equation applicable to all. Only you can decide what is right for you. If you don’t ever want to work at night or on the weekends, there is nothing wrong with that, and you need to seek a career that will allow you to stick to a standard nine-to-five position. If, on the other hand, you expect to work in the evenings or on the weekends, then you should pursue a career where that is more likely. Again, there is no right or wrong balance – just a right or wrong balance for you.
  3. Aligning what you value with your career – think about your personal values and how those values mesh with your career. For example, as a woman who actively speaks out about equality in the workplace, you might not be able to work in a historically male-dominated field. However, you might decide because you value equality, working in such a field gives you the opportunity to effect change. The point is to think and understand what you value and determine whether your current path meshes with those values? If they don’t, then it is likely time to make a change.

Once you have considered these elements, you can then think more concretely and definitively about whether you want to advance you career, is it the right time, and what steps you need to take to effect change.

You may enjoy your job, your colleagues, and not want to make a change – and that is perfectly okay. Timing is everything, and you may not feel you are ready to make a change or conversely, it might be a good time. But I do want to caution you about timing - if you wait for the “perfect” time to try and advance your career – that time may never come. Sometimes opportunities present themselves at the worst time, and you shouldn’t miss out on an opportunity because the timing is not perfect. However, only you can determine that. For example, if there is a lot going on in your personal life, it might not make sense to seek a promotion that will require more of your time and effort. On the other hand, simply because you are immersed in a big project at work is not a reason to pass on a new position that seems like a really great fit.

If you are ready and the time is right (or not terrible), then you need to map out the steps to make a change possible. This may be as simple as completing an application or speaking to your boss. It might involve more calculated planning, such as revisiting your Linkedin profile, updating your resume/CV, networking to make new contacts, informational interviews, or even attending specific conferences, etc. If you have a mentor (which you should), then seek out their assistance in mapping out a definitive plan.

Considering what is important to you will help you examine your current and future career trajectories, and it will set you up for success far better than making a list of resolutions that you will likely forget about before the Full Wolf Moon on January 10th.


Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department Head of Graduate Studies
Goodwin College
Drexel University
Posted in professional-development-career-tips