Christmas Career Reflection

No matter where you turn these past few weeks, the sounds of Christmas carols fill the air – “It came upon a midnight clear, Go tell it on the mountain, Deck the halls and…..Santa Claus is coming to town”! If you are like me, the tunes constantly ring in my ears. I even find myself humming in my sleep, “you gotta be good, you gotta be good, you gotta be good”! Yes, yes, I know, I’m feeling guilty about my exercise routine. And, ok, ok, so I’m behind in my diet, just leave me alone!!!

But hey, just a minute….I really think there’s more to this “gotta be good” stuff than meets the eye. In the literal sense, being “good” means that you should have been a good parent, a good employee, or good boss over the past year. However, let’s give this statement a different slant for a change. Let’s ask, How good were you to YOU over the past year ??? In other words, how good were you at looking after one of the most important things in life, you and your career?

I know the hustle and bustle around Christmas season puts a crunch on personal private time, but try to take a few moments to sit down, feet up, coffee cup in hand and reflect on your “career year”. Here are some of the things you might consider:

  • What is the vision of your current employer for the next 3-5 years?
  • How does your skillset fit with these goals? What skillsets will be needed in the near future? How current are your skills? How secure is your role in this company?
  • Are you happy in your current job? Are you doing what you really like to do and what you are good at? If not, what have you done about it?
  • What training programs did you attend during the year? Did you document your training program for future reference? What did you learn and how did you apply it at work?
  • Did you meet your corporate goals this year? What other accomplishments did you achieve? Have you documented these for your performance review?
  • Have you leveraged your accomplishments to push you toward the next level of your career? What plans have you put in place to make this happen?
  • When did you last review your personal benefit needs? Do they meet your short and long term needs? Is your personal data current?
  • Is your pension indexed? If not, are you participating in other savings programs to look after your retirement career?
  • When did you last review your personnel file? Is the documentation up to date? Are your training programs and accomplishments documented?
  • Are you receiving a just and fair salary based on your contribution to the company and the market rates? And, have you consistently exchanged a fair day’s work for fair pay?
  • Have you made an extra effort on behalf of your employer this year?
  • Did you initiate any new improvements or product ideas or did you just “put in time?”
  • Have you been a willing team member or did you have to be dragged kicking and screaming to assist on special projects?
  • If you experienced workplace stress over the past year, did you seek professional counseling to develop coping strategies that could be applied on a long term basis?
  • Were you one of the morale boosters or one of the disgruntled bunch who contributed to a low morale and perhaps high turnover?

One of the most popular corporate value statements over the last few years, is “employees are our greatest resource”. The suggestion is that “being good” to employees is good for business. But while an employer can create a framework for a positive work environment and a satisfying job experience, you and only you can “be good” to yourself. By this I mean, you must take charge of your career because the greatest resource is YOU!

In order to succeed in the future, you need be vigilant about your career and take a proactive approach to career management. Be selfish, dream, plan, act and be good to yourself. So once you’ve done some reflection, take time to create a set of goals for your 2001 career management. Here are some tips to help with your planning:

  • Relationship capital is being touted as one of the key skills of the future. Plan to keep your communication skills at their highest level develop new relationships through business networking.
  • A 3-5 year personal training plan in which learning is incremental, action oriented and directly applicable to your current job and/or career goals should be established. Seek out alternative education opportunities such as distance education, intensive week long programs, and opportunities for prior learning assessments and degree credit for your efforts.
  • Identify specific potential leadership (formal/informal) contributions you can make and volunteer for special projects that will help your company achieve its goals while providing new personal learning.
  • Familiarize yourself with all company policies, benefit and retirement plans; update your personal plans to suit current needs.
  • Ensure you have a consistent positive attitude and a creative approach to problem solving; work to create positive teamwork and a synergistic work environment.
  • Develop a strategy for being “good” to the company while being “good” to yourself.

I think upon reflection, you’ll agree, there’s really much more to the Christmas lyric “you gotta be good” than meets the eye. I truly believe that to achieve career success and personal fulfillment, we’ve “gotta be good” to ourselves and our career goals. We’ve “gotta” stop feeling guilty, and “gotta” start taking charge of our careers.

Barbara J. Bowes, FCHRP, CMC
Barbara Bowes is President of Legacy Bowes Group. She can be reached at

Legacy Bowes Group 301-161 Portage Avenue E. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2L6
p: 204.957.5525 f: 204.957.5834 e: