Your career is your career. That’s the answer in plain and simple terms. If you don’t look out for your career, it is highly doubtful it will advance to the places and levels where you really want it to go. So you need a plan to improve your skills and advance forward in order to maximize your potential. We all have gifts and skills. These are meant to be shared—to be utilized. Your Professional Development Plan (PDP) will help you do this. Also, as technologies are constantly increasing, job requirements in terms of education, skills, and experience are also in a constant state of change. This has a profound effect on the general workforce, where change is more common than ever, and jobs and job requirements are constantly shifting. By developing a solid and comprehensive PDP, you will have set goals for yourself that, while they may change over time, can provide direction for you and your career. This will help you focus on what you are really good at and give insight on how you can change alongside a constantly shifting employment sector.
How Do I Do It?
Your PDP is your PDP, so take plenty of time to reflect and really consider the various prompts and questions throughout this document. Your Instructor is not looking for “right” answers as much as reflective ones. Do you have sufficient insight into your own situation and skills to create a comprehensive PDP? Absolutely! But this takes time and introspection, so give yourself this time. Do not rush this process and dismiss it as just “…another assignment to get done so that I can move on to something else….” Also, seek out the counsel of others. Your peers, supervisor, friends, and family members can all help you through this process. These individuals also have a perspective and insight that you don’t have—so by seeking their assistance, your PDP should be a far more comprehensive and ‘honest’ document than if you tried to do it alone.
What Are My First Steps?
Every journey begins with a single first step. Let’s make sure that first step is in the right direction! Here are some suggestions that you can do right now. You may be already in the process of doing one or more of the below—which is good. You’re on your way!
___Update your resume
___Ask for a new assignment in your current job
___Seek out a mentor at your current position in order to learn a new skill
___Enroll in a college course to increase knowledge and skills
___Do community service in an area in which you have some expertise
___Look for opportunities at work to do new tasks that you can put on your resume
___Ask to be place on an Interview Team
___Attend seminars and conferences in order to gain new knowledge and skills
___Read a book on how to advance in your employment sector
___Begin taking classes that will allow you to be certified in some area/skill.
___Ask for a transfer to a new division within your current organization
___Apply for a managerial position within your current organization
___Present a plan to your supervisor that will improve current operating procedures
What is shown above is just a sampling of what you can do right now to improve your current situation. Remember, the goal is to maximize talent (yours in particular), and not waste time or money. Everyone wants to the best out of themselves, and if you have an idea or a project in mind that can help you accomplish this, don’t just stand on the sidelines. Get moving!
On the next few pages are questions and prompts that are designed to get you thinking from a bigger perspective. We all need this. The world is bigger than we think and sometimes the correct answer is right in front of us. Remember, sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight. Complete each assignment and try to keep to the time restrictions given to you. Once your PDP is completed, submit a copy to your Instructor and keep one for your own records.
Assignment #1-Assessing My Current Status (10 minutes)
(Please check all that apply to you.)
___You are new in your job and feel very comfortable with your current level of skills.
___You are new in your job but do not feel prepared or ready for its demands.
___You are experienced at your current position and would like more/new challenges.
___You feel that you need to increase your knowledge/skills level through a college class.
___Your current job is asking you to increase education/skills in order to keep your position.
___Your current job is asking you to increase education/skills in order to advance.
___Your current position is asking you to increase your education, but you don’t like school.
___Your current position is asking you to increase education and you like school.
___Your current position is requiring you to gain a new certification which you want to do.
___Your current position is requiring you to gain a new certification which you don’t want to do.
___You know that your current position is safe, but you want to explore new opportunities.
___You know that your current position is not safe, so you must explore new opportunities.
___You are currently not employed full or part-time.
___You feel your current supervisor is well placed in their position of authority (A good ‘fit’).
___You feel your current supervisor is not placed in a position where their gifts are best used.
___Your feel your co-workers, for the most part, are competent.
___You feel your co-workers, for the most part, are incompetent.
___You feel the “corporate culture” in which you work is healthy and positive.
___You feel that the “corporate culture” in which you work is unhealthy and negative.
___You feel that you are making a daily, positive contribution to your organization.
___You feel that you are making a positive contribution to your organization sometimes.
___You feel that you are not making a positive contribution to your organization much at all.
Assignment #2-Assessing High Points (30 minutes)
Every job has its high points and low points. There is no perfect job because human beings are not perfect. This second assignment requires you to collaborate with a close friend, associate, or work colleague. Try to recall three events in your current position or in a previous position that was a high point for you. Some examples of high points would be learning a new skill and demonstrating it successfully; launching a new program successfully; getting strong and positive feedback from colleagues and/or your supervisor; getting a raise or promotion. All of these may be categorized as a high point. Take some time to reflect and then write out briefly three high points.
High Point #1: Description of event and explanation of why you consider this a “High Point.”
High Point #2: Description of event and explanation of why you consider this a “High Point.”
High Point #3: Description of event and explanation of why you consider this a “High Point.”
Assignment #3-Assessing Low Points (30 minutes)
We’ve all been here. Even the best of jobs can be a grind at times, but some jobs are a constant grind. It takes a Herculean effort just to come to work for some people, and this is not due to any fault of their own. Low points abound in the workplace: Mismanagement and waste; bad bosses; poor direction; mass corporate confusion; a toxic work culture; overqualified and underutilized employees; underpaid employees; and there are so many more examples! Again, with the help of a colleague, family member, or close friend, reflect on three low points in your career and put these down in the spaces provided.
Low Point #1: Description of event and explanation of why you consider this a “Low Point.”
Low Point #2: Description of event and explanation of why I consider this a “Low Point.”
Low Point #3: Description of event and explanation of why I consider this a “Low Point.”
Assignment #4-Catch a Dream (30 minutes)
We all know there is no “dream job,” but some people get pretty close to having their dream job. Why is this? Why is it that some people get nearer to the dream than others? One secret is that they have a vision that turn into goals that motivate them to move forward, to take action. For this 4th assignment, you are to dream for a moment. Do some dreaming and reflecting and then respond to the three questions below.
Assignment #5-Changing Times (30 minutes)
No organization stands still for long. Nor does an organization move forward without change. Why? Because progress without change is impossible! This next assignment requires you to look very carefully at the organization with which you are employed. This organization is in the midst of change, whether you know it or not. The question is really this: do you understand the changes that are occurring and are you open and willing to be a part of these changes? Do some reflecting on the concept of change, and then answer the following.
Assignment #6-Roadblocks (30 minutes)
Money, time, education, personal circumstances, previous commitments, and negative behaviors and habits can all be obstacles to good goals and a brighter future. Everyone has obstacles that they need to overcome to reach their goals, and not everyone overcomes these obstacles.
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