Managing Your Career with Professional Development Plans
Professional development plans can be quite useful in managing your career. They can help align your efforts and resources with your goals. Professional development plans do not need to be complicated or take considerable amounts of your time. Making them useful involves your willingness to be adaptable and update them periodically.
I suggest approaching each step in the process individually if you have never taken deliberate steps to manage your career that involved creating a professional development plan. Everyone’s circumstances and resources are different. This approach has served me well for the past fifteen years as I completed my education while working full-time and maintaining a balance in my family/work/developmental time. There have been periods of time in which I’ve been working toward fulfilling my goals and my formal planning process seemed to be on “auto pilot” meaning I was not deliberating monitoring my progress against my goals and updating any formal plans I’d established. You need to discover what works for you – what’s important is having goals identified that you’re actively working toward.
I’ll offer a word of caution as you approach this process – goal setting and realization can be addictive especially if you are a self-motivated individual who appreciates making progress. You may discover that as you complete goals that you are inspired to “raise the bar” and set even more challenging goals than what you just completed. Given my former circumstances, I am convinced that goals can be realized with the right amount of hard work, determination, and support. Goal setting can benefit parents, managers, and individual professionals. Once you make progress from going through the process, you may find yourself sharing the process with others. Professional development plans are never completely final. They need updated periodically to ensure alignment with your goals and resources. Realizing your goals can be a tremendous amount of fun. I encourage you to be realistic and try not to be discouraged. Setbacks will occur and you will need to re-evaluate and change your plans. The sooner you become adaptable the easier the process will become – let’s get started! Over the next several days we’ll share information that you can use to develop or update your professional development plans.
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