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 evenif 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 ina 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'drather 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 wewon'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 cannotcurrently 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 asthey 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 yourreach.
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 writethe usual trash rather than say something meaningful.