Wisdom is always valuable, no matter

how late it comes. It’s an old saying and something I try to

remember every day. It’s also probably one of the most important

things you can learn about project management, or in my case job

searching. It’s never to late to reconsider your course, never to

late to reassess, and never to late to make the right decision even

if you know you will pay a price for doing so.

Practically, this belief means I took

part of this week to step back and assess what I want. Not “what I

want” in a cosmic sense – I’ve know that for years – but what I

want from a job in the short, medium, and long term. Such

understanding doesn’t always lead to happiness but it does give me a

foundation from which to work from while performing my search, going

to interviews, and asking for people to do me the favor of putting in

a kind word at an opportune moment.

If my job search were a project we

would call this “envisioning” and immediately hand it off to

someone to write up a vision statement. We would then carefully

enshrine the document in a suitable cylindrical container and get

about the business at hand. Since this is my life, though, I’d

rather not have it end up in a dump somewhere.

Besides, a clear vision helps me not

with the how or the what of the activities but the why. Too many IT

project vision statements include statements in the following form:

“we will install X product in Y time frame to meet Z objective.”

That’s not a vision statement or even a project charter – its a

statement of what needs doing and by what date. It strips power from

those who do the work by reducing them to puppets dancing to

another’s will. “Here you go! Your vision is to make whatever we

tell you to make, regardless of how much sense it makes, and no we

won’t ask you how long it will take!”

Back on target, though, I decided to

divide my vision into three time-horizons. This is one of my most

common tricks for understanding a situation; it helps me to keep

things in perspective. It also reduces complexity by allowing me to

remove factors from consideration. Highly complex analysis takes a

good bit of time and, frankly, leads to a kind of paralysis I cannot

currently afford.

So, with those thoughts in mind I

played one final card. Pride aside, I know I work better when I work

with people whom I know and trust. So I spent time chatting with

friends and family about, well, stuff. We talked about perspective

on the past and what the future might hold. We talked about what

they thought were my better abilities and what they thought I should

avoid. Probably the most interesting discussions centered around

what I seemed happiest doing; not what I was happiest doing, since

only I could know that, but what those who know me best thought as

they watched me move though various career stages.

The results both enlightened and

encouraged me. My short-term vision involves a lot of work on things

only marginally related to the job search – finishing up some books,

getting a photo shoot for a martial arts book I’ve written, and

various bits of personal business. Working on those will help to

revitalize me and stave off the fugue state I mentioned in my other

posts. The medium and long term visions will take more work, though

I’m still on track for both of them. It’s important, especially in

times of change, to realize your own goals still lie within your


Vision statements, like relationships,

are profoundly personal things. I wonder sometimes if that is why we

do them so badly in business; its easier and less exposing to write

the usual trash rather than say something meaningful.