Sunday, June 8, 2008

Gotta Unpack During this Summer "Vacation"

The students are on summer break and you find yourself in your office, chillin' - literally. I know how the air conditioning is in some places. :0) As I was chilling with my new supervisor, I have a moment that moved me closer to self-actualization. I thought would be worth sharing with my readers.

During the meeting we were talking about skills I've acquired since being a professional. I guess I never fully thought of everything that I either A. am capable of doing or B. can do with my eyes closed and one arm tied behind my back. Seven years have passed since I started working in student affairs and I've updated my resume many times but I never really comprehended what I am capable of doing.

How many times have you thought about the tasks that you do every day? Probably not as often as you could - and when it comes to interviewing for positions, you probably leave the interview and think, "Damn, I forgot to mention this.. " I know it has happened to me.

This summer you may be preparing to go on a vacation and spend some of that economic stimulus check. Before you begin packing, let me suggest "unpacking" all that you've accomplished personally and professionally. What lessons were learned? What skills were honed? What new skills were acquired? What is your full list of skill sets? What areas need more attention? This activity could be jotting down a couple of things each day. Your brain won't recall everything at once - so start the list on your computer and save it. Add to it. I will be that you feel more accomplished.


Some important skills can be:
  • Managed several budgets.
  • Mediated conflicts between students and or staff.
  • Dealt with a difficult ___________.
  • Planned activities for ___________.
  • Became more well versed in risk management.
  • Handled a crisis involving ________.
The list can go on. You may even have to do this for your end of the year reports. There may be things you haven't included on those reports that may not be important for that particular document. However, that doesn't mean it's not important for you as a professional. This list is to help you feel accomplished.

In addition to the things you've accomplished in the office be sure to include things you want to accomplish in your personal life. Add things you WANT to accomplish during the next 12 months personally and professionally. Kind of like your own "Bucket List" which coincidentally comes out on DVD and BluRay on Tuesday! I created one and I'll share it here. It's more personal than professional, but you get the idea.

Take notice that this is NOT a list of what I want to do.. but what I will do. If I don’t get to everything, that’s okay - at least I’ve done something. Ideally, I’d like to have 366 things to do. Things is green are what I've done /am doing. Things in orange are things that are in the works.

1. Create a framed piece of art each month - this counts as 12 things.
13. Exercise at least 3 times a week.
14. Do a photo shoot each month to hone my craft - this counts as 12 things.
27. Learn how to use Illustrator effectively. 28. Learn how to use Photoshop effectively. 29. Cook my own meals 4 days a week.
30. Plan a my weekly dinner menus in advance.
31. Limit my spending on frivolous things.
32. Create a bracelet to remind me to not buy frivolous things.
33. Try my hand at building whimsical wall clocks - I’ve always wanted to do this.
34. Utilize my sewing machine at least 4 times this year - counts as 4.
38. Save $50 into my savings account each month.
39. Get a Roth IRA
40. Really try to sell my artwork and make money.
41. Buy lighting equipment and build my own photo studio.
42. Learn how to create flash animation and menus.
43. Create my own stationary.
44. Write actual letters and mail them to people I haven’t talked to in a while.
45. Pay off all debt.
46. Write a blog each week - there’s something worth writing about all of the time.. you just have to think about it. - HA.. this blog isn't this particular one.. it's not appropriate for this venue. biggrin if you think you wanna see - let me know .. but be warned!
47. Walk 10,000 steps each day - that can’t be THAT hard can it? I'm pretty close!
48. Read two books this year. One book has been read - The Color Purple
49. Take more risks in meeting people.
50. Date more often.
51. Keep a tidier office.
52. Show my appreciation more often.
53. Attend church at least once.
54. Find a new job. YAY! I have a new job at George Mason!
55. Make more time for myself.
56. Drink less soda.
57. Travel out of the country.
58. Visit family.
59. Keep a sketch book and USE IT.
60. Do something nice for someone each week - counts as 52.
113. Know when it’s time to leave the office.
114. Practice playing the guitar. Does Guitar Hero count?
115. Buy clothes that are the right size.
116. Eat less junk food.
117. Create an art portfolio.
118. Go hiking. The Grand Canyon Rim trail! Yeah Baby!
119. Go to the movies at least once and not get popcorn. Saw "Meet the Browns"
120. Display my artwork in some prominent location.
121. Each week look for items I can cross off from this list.
122. Drink less coffee. - Im actually drinking more now.. ugh..
123. Volunteer for some charitable organization.
124. Re-read The Four Agreements and live them to the best of my ability.
125. Write down my dreams - they can be the biggest inspiration.
126. Start loving myself more.
127. Attend a Meet Up Group meeting
128. Find ways I can make a difference at work.
129. Stay out of office gossip.
130. Be more inclusive with regard to people at work.
131. Encourage people to be the best "professional" they can be.
132. Believe in myself.
133. Continue to add to this list.

It's good to revisit your list at least once a month - at the beginning of the month is best. This way, you can plot how you will be able to cross off new items.

Feel free to share some items from your list in the comments - I'd love to see them.

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