Do I need a new plan?

A good friend of mine has a plan. She’s had this plan for a lot of years and it all leads up to a hefty career achievement she wants to make before she turns 40 (about 7-8 years away). Her plan involves one hell of a lot of hard work and determination, but she’s already ahead of schedule and it’s looking like she’s set to make that achievement while she’s still comfortably in her 30’s.

I really admire her for the determination and, more importantly, motivation she has every single day. Her schedule is cuh-razy busy and she’s had all sorts of unplanned hurdles to deal with, but she’s stayed so strong and focused and to be honest, she’s putting most of us to absolute shame. I look forward to everything her future brings for her, because she’s put every ounce of her effort into it and deserves the world for what she’s done.

Seeing my friend make such strides forward in her career makes me bring my own into consideration. It’s two years to the day since I left my old job following redundancy. At the time I got made redundant I felt like my world was about to implode. I’d spent 9 years at that company and it was familiar. But you know what they say about familiarity – it breeds contempt. I can say with all honesty I never really enjoyed it there, so when I was given notice of my redundancy I tried desperately to look for the positive and see it as an opportunity to do something different.

My new job really has ended up being the silver lining in what first appeared such a dark cloud. My role within the company has chopped and changed a bit during my 2 years there, but now I feel like I’m really getting comfortably settled in this new post as Training and Project Lead. I have a head full of ideas, sufficient autonomy to put a lot of them into practice and enough enthusiasm to see them through.

I fully appreciate its early days for me in this position, but my thoughts are now turning to my good friend and her long-term plan. Maybe I need a plan? Maybe I should already be thinking of what my next move will be? Now that I’m in a career I really enjoy, I ought to be thinking about what I want its future to look like. Do I want to move up the ladder? Do I want to specialise in a particular area? Do I want to generalise and be a jack-of-all-trades in the field?

I’ll have to give this some serious thought because the decision will massively affect the steps I’ll need to take to get there. I tried to do this same exercise years ago, which is what led to me starting on the MA at Durham Uni, but those plans fell down so dramatically so now I’m starting again. It’s the story of my life so far – make plans, plans fail for whatever reason, start over again. But I’ll keep repeating the cycle until one day I get to where I’ve planned.

I’m on annual leave this coming week which is the ideal opportunity for me to consider this with a clear head. Walking and mountain biking around the peaceful Yorkshire Dales will give me the perfect backdrop to think over my options and begin the arduous task of forging a new plan for my future. It’s certainly not with the intention of derailing my present; that would be foolish given my newness in the role and the fresh face I’m currently sporting, but I feel I ought to give this some serious thought otherwise I might end up in the same state as I did in my last job – 9 years in with nothing to show for it.

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