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Tending your career garden

Yesterday, I spent a good deal of my day working in the garden. 

This may seem like an odd thing to do to many. After all, it’s the end of December; nearly everything is in hibernation awaiting the longer days and warmer temperatures of Spring (and has been for over a month now). What possibly would there be to do?

Here’s a short list of things that I accomplished:

  • Pruning a number of plants that are dormant
  • Cleaning out flowerbeds of leaf debris
  • Getting rid of Winter weeds that had started to take over a couple of flowerbeds
  • Cutting back perennials that had died off in the hard freeze we had a couple of weeks ago

What’s the end result look like? To the untrained eye, not much:



But thanks to my investment of effort, this garden bed is ready for its next big growing season. Could I have waited until Spring was upon us? Yes. But that would have meant I was well behind the curve–and things might have suffered for it. 

As I was working in the yard yesterday, it struck me how the work I was doing is similar to that which we all need to do in managing our careers. 

  • Do you belong to a professional association for your field? Do you make time to attend the chapter meetings to learn from key professionals in your industry?
  • When’s the last time you’ve done a webinar on a new trend or technique in your industry?
  • Have you gone to a regional/national conference in the past year?
  • When’s the last time you spent a weekend afternoon updating your LinkedIn profile?
  • How about when you last reached out to people in your network to have coffee?

We often think of doing these things only when they are forced upon us: We get a new manager who quickly exposes themselves as the Manager From Hell. Our company is acquired. We are laid off. 

How much more effective would you be in being able to quickly make a move thanks to your up-to-date knowledge, strong network, and solid LinkedIn profile?

Something to think about the next time you find yourself out raking leaves or pulling weeds…



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December 2013
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