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Looking Towards the Future

It’s not enough to do a good job today; you need to prepare yourself for the future, in two principal ways:

  1. Keep Abreast of New Innovations in Your Field

    No matter what field you’re in, technology impacts your business. From garbage collection (computerized routing) to art (the Internet offers a new way to reach dealers and collectors), high tech is everywhere. New software programs, new equipment, and new ways to communicate: make sure you can keep up. If your computer skills are less than robust, you have plenty of options: classes, books, online courses, or enlisting the help of a “techie” co-worker or friend.
    But computers aren’t the only agents of change. From global political upheavals to the graying of the population, we’re in the midst of transition, with no signs of slowing. So how do you keep abreast of these changes?

    • Read: Read trade publications, newspapers, news magazines, books, articles--anything you can get your hands on. And make a point to pick up something outside your field of interest at least once a month.

    • Talk: Use your lunch hour to discuss emerging trends with your co-workers. What’s happening in other areas and how might that impact your job?

    • Listen: Listen to what your boss raves about, what the CEO emphasizes in company meetings, what your neighbors and friends are buzzing about.

    • Network: Join a professional organization, mingle with others in your field, and notice what topics keep coming up.

  2. Prepare For the Next Rung on Your Career Ladder

    Now that you have a good idea of what skills and abilities are required to perform at your current level, you need to look at what’s in store in the future.

    The process is the same as self-evaluation, except you’ll evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in terms of the position to which you aspire, not the one you presently have. Take the job description for the position above yours and see how you measure up. What skills are you missing? How can you get them? Prepare a plan and decide on a timeline. By the time you’ve mastered those job requirements, the promotion will all but have your name on it.

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