Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What next?

Similar to my prior boss, my new program director (P.D.) meets annually with each faculty member to provide a performance review and discuss goals for the upcoming year.  My appointment with her is only a few weeks away, and I need to come prepared with my short- and long-term goals.

Goals?
I don't need no stinkin' goals...

The unpredictability of life, which brings both unexpected opportunities (cross-posted on KevinMD?  cool!) and challenges (leaving my last job, for starters), just feels too powerful to control.  I could never have predicted the highlights of my career to date; they happened not because I carefully plotted out intricate plans but because I indulged an interest and threw my heart into it, heedless of the consequences.

I am also an acknowledged detail and results-oriented person.*  I'm not good at thinking abstractly or looking at multiple pieces of a big picture simultaneously. Goal-setting feels like trying to do the impossible - corral the infinite complexities and possibilities of life into some semblance of order.  I'm happy with keeping my bed made and my desk neat.**

In this new position, though, I already feel myself running a bit adrift.  This program is in the midst of a lot of growth, and  I'm at risk of being pulled into fulfilling needs that don't align with my interests.  I know that I'll have to do some things here that I don't love, just as I did in my old program; every workplace has its unpleasant yet necessary tasks, and getting them done needs to be a team sport.  

It seems the only way to balance their needs and my interests (*sigh*) is to discipline myself to set some stinkin' goals, but I'm going to do it my way.  I'm going to prioritize my time toward activities that stoke the fire in my soul.  I'm going to focus on specific, doable targets.  And I'm not going to set 10-year goals - who knows what will happen in 10 years?  

I'm confident that if I follow my passions, opportunities will have materialized by then that I couldn't possibly have imagined.

* For you Myers-Briggs fans, I'm a definite ISTJ: http://www.123test.com/ISTJ-personality-type/
** There are zero pieces of paper on my work desk.  Zero.  I've been told it's an illness.  ;)

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