Many years ago, I received some advice from a mentor that I have always cherished. He told me that at the end of each year, it’s a great time to take your “career inventory” by asking yourself some key questions:
“In the past 12 months, did you learn new skills, were you challenged, did you grow in your job, did you develop as a professional, and did you bring anything new to your current place of employ?”
And he went on to counsel that if you have trouble answering “yes” to these questions and/or you're at a loss to quickly think of good examples, you may be in a career cul-de-sac.
Now I totally understand that for many over the past couple of tough economic years, a goal has been to preserve wealth, maintain one's job, and simply stay intact. But even if "maintenance" is paramount for you, it doesn't mean you have to stagnate in your current job.
So, as we head into a new year and a media business that is going through more gyrations since Gutenberg invented the printing press, this is a great time to assess, reevaluate, and plan ahead for a strong 2011 - even if you're feeling a little stuck in your job.
- Read as much as you can about new media, new technology, and what traditional companies are doing to integrate digital.
- Subscribe to web emails about social media, mobile, digital, and other areas that are new or foreign to you.
- Set up profiles for yourself on social media sites beside Facebook. If you’re not on Twitter, sign up. Same with Foursquare, and keep your eye out for other new sites that look promising.
- Spend time on Mashable.com, a great site that provides training and information for new digital tools.
- Hire a college student, start an internship program, and/or find a way to integrate youth into your operation.
- Work on something new and exciting for your station (or yourself) – a new project that even if it never sees the light of day, can stimulate and perhaps lead to something else.
- Attend a non-radio convention at some time throughout the year, preferably a conference that is digital in focus (140 Characters, BlogWorld, CES, etc.).
- Attend an actual radio/broadasting conference this year to reconnect with your industry. If your station doesn’t sanction this or won’t pay for you, find a way to take off time and pay your own way.
- Schedule at least two off-sites for your staff during the year – a chance to hang out, brainstorm, and simply spend time with one another.
- Make sure you use your vacation time this year, go somewhere different, and don’t just spend your time off puttering around the house or apartment.
- Thank the people around you – those you report to and those who report to you – for the work they do throughout the year.
- Find a way to connect your business or station to a community service project or campaign of some type.
That’s a healthy to-do list for 2011. And I’m sure I’m missing some important things, but hopefully, this post will spur some ideas and thoughts for how you can make this coming year better for you, your family, and those around you.
Getting through a difficult recession and media tsunami has been challenging for everyone, from the entry level to the corner office. But I predict that despite the speed bumps and often daunting missions we all face. we will look back on this era as a time when innovation, risk-taking, and stretching one's boundaries were very much a part of the mix.
We look forward to exchanging ideas via this blog with you in 2011, and wish you and yours a great new year.