Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Archive for March 16th, 2009

Professional Definitions: Can they be achieved?

Posted by sweens on March 16, 2009

I find myself with a bit of ‘writers block’ today as I am searching for an idea for a blog entry.  I have had a few thoughts lately but not enough meat for a blog entry.  I think one of the re-occurring thoughts that continually invades my head is the notion of dealing with roadblocks in defining yourself as a professional.  This has always been a challenge for me personally as I have always wanted to fit in to any organization I have been a part of.  I do not mean joining a new company and feeling like part of the team.  I refer more to the idea of contributing to the team and being respected and recognized as a player within the organization.


Based on a few events that have happened around me lately, I realize that the challenge to define oneself as a professional is an on-going task.  Perhaps one that no one has ever mastered.  Individuals obviously reach different levels within their career but that does not mean they stay stagnant once they reach a certain level.  I think it is crucial for an individual not to plateau but rather drive to continue growing as a professional. 


People can be in different situations that require a different professional definition.  What motivates these people to find this definition?  Can you find it?


I am not really sure but I do see that your definition always changes.  I think about something I heard once from someone I can not remember at this time.  We were speaking about how my generation is driven to define themselves professionally at a young age, which is something I agree with.  Someone then said that in your later years, you will define your success by the success of your children.  I say this not to draw a comparison, but to demonstrate that your need for a definition can shift focus over time.   


I think that is accurate for all individuals throughout their career.  Take an individual who has worked a full-time job for their whole professional life.  They suddenly make a change and start their own consulting practice.  Well that person needs to define them self as a professional in a different realm then they had previously succeeded in.  Take an individual who has run a franchise for 15 years and decides they want to start their own shop.  Well that person now needs to define them self as a successful individual on their own. 


While your previous experience will always help you in your future positions, you leave a bit of experience (professional definition) behind when you take a new role, or take on new responsibilities.  As such your ability and need for defining yourself will always change.  I think this challenge represents the best of the workforce and is a driving factor in people trying to continually succeed and climb the corporate latter (so to speak).

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