Do you have or make professional goals?

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Today we have a guest editorial as Steve is on holiday.

Well, we made it to 2018. It seems like 2017 went by quite quickly. The start of the year can be a good time to think about where you are going professionally. If you are a goal setting person, you are probably assessing the goals you made last year. Keeping some of the ones you didn’t quite accomplish and adding new ones you hope to achieve this year. Others of you may not make professional goals. Perhaps this is the year to start.

First, I think I should mention I am not talking about New Year’s resolutions. Those often seem certain to fail. I am not saying your goals shouldn’t be or couldn’t be lofty. It just seems like resolutions are anything but resolute. I believe a professional goal can be more of a point of reference. It can be a direction you are moving toward. Still, some goals can also be more general and hard to quantify.

When setting a professional goal, it is important to be specific. You could set a general goal like: I want to be a better DBA, but how would you know if you accomplished it? It would be better to focus on something specific that would help you be a better DBA. Like, I want to understand indexes on a deeper level and how to tune them.

So why are professional goals important? I think when we are NOT trying to move toward something, when we are just staying with status quo, we can fall victim to complacency. This could cost us our jobs. Also, when we have a goal, we can measure our success in achieving that goal. It always feels good when you accomplish something. When trying to accomplishing a goal we often have to learn and master new things. This can be valuable in one’s career. You never know, your goals of today might become your career of tomorrow.

I would encourage you to write your goals down. Perhaps, display them someplace where you work. Share them with co-workers, or if you are really brave share them with your manager. Accountability is often a strong motivation to accomplish things.

It doesn’t hurt to get some help with your goals. You don’t have to go it alone. Others have reached for similar goals before you. Try to follow in their footsteps and learn from their mistakes. Perhaps a mentor would be helpful to you in reaching your goal. Someone that has already achieved it, or has knowledge that would help you attain your goal.

I would encourage you if you don’t make professional goals, to spend some time in the near future to think about it and write some down. Share some past or future goals you have and how you plan on getting there.

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