My Goals for 2018

To follow a yearly tradition, in a previous post I evaluated my progress against my goals. In this one, I’ll outline my goals for 2018, and highlight the areas where I hope to focus my time and energy for the upcoming year.

Build Skills for my new job

Since I recently transitioned into a new job and career, I am learning a great deal about a new function and trade. While I’m happy with the move and the progress I’ve made so far, I want to continue to build my skills and competency as a marketer, since it looks like I’ll be in this field for awhile. Whether it’s attending marketing events, networking with other marketers, or aligning my side-hustles to get hands on skills, I want to accelerate my learning in 2018

Redevelop new routine

The new job means that I’ll have significantly less travel. In addition, I also moved to a new apartment. With all this change, I need to rethink my routines in order to make the most of my time and ensure that I’m focusing on the right activities. Whether it’s re-thinking my gym schedule, finding time during the week to see friends, or figuring out how to make the most of my weekend, I want to re-develop a new routine and stick to it in the new year.

Take initiative for building friendships

It’s taken time, but I am starting to finally build out a good group of friends here in San Francisco. Traveling every week for 2.5 years made it more challenging to build friendships, but even in spite of that making new friends and building relationships takes a lot of effort. It can be hard when building new friendships to want to invest the time and effort in a new friendship, especially when you only have limited time to begin with, but that shouldn’t be the reason why you choose to not invest in any relationships. For 2018, I want to take the initiative in investing in these relationships, and making the most of being in San Francisco and having more time to spend on things that I care about.

Transition from Thinking to Doing

2017 was a lot of reflecting, thinking and musing about the future. Obviously, there was a lot of doing in terms of making the transition and going through a job interview process, but I invested a lot of time in the thinking piece in order to get there. I want to flip it in 2018, and while I’ll always be thinking, focus more on the “Doing.” Yes, reflection is great, but doing and executing is where things happen, and that needs to be a focal point for 2018

Focus in on “Side Projects”

Since I can remember, I’ve always had a side-project or two that I’ve worked on which has helped me channel my creative energy and passions. While this has been great, I seem to be juggling a lot of balls in the air, and am not making as much progress since it’s hard to focus on so many things at once. In 2018, one of my goals will be to do an audit of all the ongoing “side projects” and make some big bets as to where I want to focus my time moving forward.

Travel somewhere new

In 2017, I got the chance to visit a lot of places I always visit (ex: DC, Boston, NYC, Chicago, LA) and also got to visit some new places (Palm Springs, Hawaii) I want to continue to visit old favorites but also continue to expand into new ones as well.

2017 brought change and new opportunities. I’m looking forward to exploring some of these paths further, and excited for what’s in store!

My 2017 Resolution Report Card

Two years ago, I started a “Year in Review” exercise to reflect on my progress during the year and to understand where I could do better. It’s also a great reflection exercise to prepare me for my resolutions for the upcoming year. In the full spirit of transparency I’ve decided to review those goals and to grade myself on how I did.

Goal: Keep Going Out Of Your Comfort Zone B+

For most of my life, I’ve use some sort of framework (costs/benefits, pro’s/cons etc) to make decisions, mitigate risk and increase my chances of success. And while that’s proven to be a great strategy it’s also prevented me from taking risks and stepping outside of my comfort zone. It’s something I’ve realized over the past few years, and last year I made it a priority to push myself to take my risks.

In 2017, I made progress towards this goal in a number of ways. I challenged myself to change my eating and dietary habits, pushed myself to build relationships, traveled to new places and wrote/blogged as much as I ever have before. Not to mention, I finally took the plunge and left consulting for a new opportunity. This is a goal that I hope to keep with me for the rest of my life, but I’m proud of what I did in 2017.

Goal:Continue to Invest in Relationships in San Francisco A-

In 2015 and 2016, I spent the majority of my time on the road, which made it difficult to invest in meeting friends and building relationships in San Francisco. So last year, I made it a goal of mine to invest the time to do just that, and overall, I felt like I did a good job. I made a much stronger and intentional effort to reach out to friends, organize group events, or just catch someone for coffee or a quick hello. I even started somewhat of a monthly brunch club!

I will admit, there was some uncertainty or hesitation at times. It may sound silly, but there’s always this fear of rejection or embarrassment that others don’t want to spend time with you. However, most of that was just in my head, and even when things didn’t pan out I’m glad I made the effort.

 

Goal: Focus on Improving the Community I live in C+

Since I can now call San Francisco home, I felt it was important to invest in shaping and improving the community. This is an area where I felt I came up short, as I didn’t get nearly as involved as I would have hoped to.

Goal: Inspiring others around me A-

This is a bit of a soft and amorphous goal, but one that I think is really important. I chose this one based off of some feedback that I got in a performance review, but also because given the state of affairs in the world right now I felt that it was something that I could do to contribute “my part,” and I thought I delivered on this promise.

2017 was a year unlike any other that I’ve seen in my life, and I’m fortunate to have had many positive things come out of it, and I look forward to achieving even more for 2018.

Career Transitions: My playbook for finding a new job

After 5 and ½ years at the same company I decided to change careers. This was not something that happened overnight, but was a process and exercise that ran over the course of many months. While it’s still very early, I feel confident and excited about the transition.

Over the past few weeks, friends and colleagues have reached out as they too are thinking about transitions. As a career coach who works with professionals who are undertaking their own job transitions, the process gave me a chance to practice what I had been preaching, and I wanted to share what and how I did it.

 I realized I had done what I wanted to do

First, I realized I had gotten enough experience as a consultant.

When I first joined my company out of college, my goal was to learn and get as many experiences and skills that would help me be successful for a long career. After 5.5 years, I realized I had done enough, and felt comfortable walking away knowing that I had gotten what I wanted out of the experience.

To get there, I took a pen and paper and wrote down all the things I had worked on over the years. It made me appreciate what my company had given me but also showed me that while there is always more to learn there really wasn’t much left on my “Must Do” list. This gave me the confidence that it was the right time to start searching for my next gig.

I looked at the path in front of me, and realized I wanted something different

A piece of advice I was given early on in my career was if you want to how long to stay here, look at the person 1 or 2 levels above you and ask yourself if you would want their job and their life?

I did this exercise, and realized the answer was “No.”

Advancing as a consultant and eventually becoming Partner at a consulting firm is a fantastic career, but it was for someone else, not for me. I realized after asking myself this question and talking to individuals in those roles that while their aspirations and goals aligned to those roles, mine didn’t.

I reflected on critical questions, and developed my “future state job description”

Once I realized I was ready for a change, I started my journey with a self-reflection process to find answers to some critical questions. The key questions I wanted to answer were:

  • What are my personal and professional priorities?
  • What are my strengths and unique skills, and how do I want to use them in my next job?
  • Where do I do my best work, and what are the critical characteristics of a job that I need to do my best work work?
  • Who are the types of people I want to work with, and what are the characteristics of these people?
  • How will my job and career fit within my vision and goals for my life?

 

I’ll admit, some of these are deep cuts when it comes to questions. They are not necessarily questions that one might ponder on a day-to-day basis, but they were important to me in getting clear on what I wanted out of my job and my career.

The goal here is not to copy my questions, but to find ones of your own that when you answer and reflect on them, will give you some clarity and ideas.

The good news is that while this did come from reflection I also got a bit of help from my friends and colleagues. In addition to answering questions on my own, I reached out to friends, colleagues, and peers from all walks of life and had them answer a 360 degree survey feedback to get objective feedback of what others thought of my strengths as well as their ideas on my career outcomes. This was an incredibly valuable exercise that gave me feedback that I used to pressure test my own views of my strengths. It also gave me ideas about what types of jobs or roles might be a good fit.

Lastly, I began to craft my future state job description. This was similar to any job description, but in my own aspirational mindset. The future state job description included aspects I discovered out of looking at my strengths and obtaining feedback from peers, and was something I used later on when I started evaluating job opportunities.

I got clear on my priorities, personally and professionally

One of the reasons that initially prompted me to leave was because I felt like my priorities were not necessarily aligned to how I was spending my time. It was a hypothesis, but to know for sure, I actually went ahead and laid out my priorities.

Professionally, it meant things like:

  • A company whose mission and values aligned with my mission and values
  • A function/role that leveraged my strengths and expertise
  • A manager who I respected first as a person, and who had a track record of developing her employees
  • Colleagues who were supportive, hard-working, and inclusive

Personally, it meant:

  • Time and resources to invest in my health, wellness and well-being
  • Time to invest in my personal relationships
  • Work-life balance that would allow me to spend time with friends and family
  • Flexibility arrangements so I could fly back or work remotely from the east coast

 

As I progressed further in the process, I began evaluating potential jobs against these values to see where there was and wasn’t fit.

I removed the fear of finding the “perfect job”

I turned 30 last week, which means unless I win the lottery, I’m going to be working for awhile. This isn’t going to be my last job, so even if it’s not perfect, or even if it doesn’t turn out how I want it, I’ll be looking for a new one in the future anyway!

Yes, I still wanted a good job, and wasn’t going to take any random one, but I felt as long as it hit what I thought my priorities and values were I would be fine. This took the pressure off of trying to find the perfect one.

 

During the process, I made sure I did the dirty work

I trusted the process and did the dirty work to make sure I ended up in a job that I wanted. This meant identifying and researching companies and roles that I might be interested in.

It meant setting up conversations with people who worked at companies that I was interested in, or asking people in my network for favors to make connections.

It meant prepping for each interview by reading articles, analyst reports, or the social media feeds of people I was interviewing with, and figuring out how to sound like the best version of myself every single time I talked with an employee.

I developed a process, or playbook for how I wanted to approach every company I interviewed at, and did my best to execute against it. You can’t replace hustle, but making sure you are hustling for the right things is critical. 

I built a team to lean on

For most of my professional career, I’ve prided myself on being someone that others could count on and go to for advice. In the job search, I had to rely on others, a lot.

Over the years, I’ve spent time building my network, and investing in relationships. I am a big fan of the book Give and Take, and I aspire to be a Giver. I was humbled by the support from those who I reached out to throughout this process.

Whether it was classmates from undergrad or business school who went out of their way to follow up recruiters. Former colleagues who reached out to hiring managers to pound the table for my candidacy, or my roommate, who would patiently listen and play psychologist as I blabbed or complained about the search while we watched football and ate ice cream, or my family who would always pick up the phone no matter the time of day, the support I got when I leaned on others was both humbling and inspiring. I wouldn’t have gotten here without this team.

Upon finding my next job, the months of reflection, research, interviewing and navigating through the highs and lows gave me a greater appreciation for the feelings and emotions that many of my clients have shared with me over the years. During the process, there were moments of frustration, doubt, or fear, but landing in a job that I feel aligns with my both my personal and professional interests gives me a sense of excitement and confidence about the direction of my career, and made the effort and work that I put in over the past few months meaningful and worthwhile.