Several people state that defining long term goals is a good thing. I tend to believe them and so I'm going to create a list of long term goals. By April Fools' Day, 2011, I want to achieve the following goals. These goals may be out of reach but hopefully by reaching a little I can actually surprise myself and meet my goals!
I am going to start off with professional goals. This is the start of my professional life and I am very excited. I feel that I am starting in a great place; I am beginning life at a great company, I have a wonderful support network of colleagues, mentors, mentees and friends in the professional world and I am starting a "green field career" where I am carrying no baggage of bad experiences. However, I do not want to be satisfied with this. I need to set some goals that should help me launch into further success.
1. Find another mentor
I already have a few great mentors in Jon Fuller, Curt Clifton and Sriram Mohan. While I will continue to lean on my existing mentors, I would like to find another mentor in the coming year. The mentor/mentee relationship is one of the strongest in the professional world and having great mentors make you that much better. It would be a bonus to find a mentor in Thoughtworks (there should be plenty of viable candidates!) that would have experiences and advice relating to the company.
2. Produce for mentees
A mentor is often something that is intangible. She is there as a guide and a sounding board. However, there are also some tangibles that come from mentors. While I'm not particular about the tangible, I do want to produce something of the nature for Pete Brousalis and Eric Stokes. It could be a recommendation to a particular job offer or something else that has a direct impact on their lives.
3. Put an idea into action
I have a ton of ideas. Unfortunately, not many of them see the light of day. I want to put one idea into action. It could be as simple as writing and maintaining an open source project that I've been thinking about or launching a small business venture. I want to do something positive with my creativity.
4. Stay disciplined
I am very scatterbrained. I will do something for a couple of weeks and then lose interest. One great example is doing katas. I had done them for a few weeks but then lost track of doing them due to "time constraints." I need to stay disciplined and maintain my schedule in a professional manner.
This summer, I will be starting work at Thoughtworks. I will be working with some of the best minds in software development and I need to put that opportunity to use. I need to stay humble and try to soak up as much knowledge as possible. If necessary, I should keep a journal of the things that I am learning so that I do not miss the opportunity to internalize the wisdom.
6. Speak at a conference
Public speaking is a learned art. In order to get better at it, I need to practice. I should take every opportunity that I can to speak publicly--whether it is at local interest group meetings or even small presentations to project groups. Ultimately, though, I want to give a speech at a conference of some significance--it can be a regional or domain specific conference.
7. Mentor someone under 18
I think that mentoring is a key element of our responsibilities as professionals. I want to get involved with someone young (the younger the better, really) that has an interest in computing. It would be fantastic if I could find a young woman to mentor. I have no idea how I am going to accomplish this but hopefully I can pull it off!
As well as starting my professional life, I will be starting a new section of my personal life. I will be moving to Chicago (my first real city) and living in my own apartment (for the first time on my own) with almost no one around that I know. It'll be a great experience and I am looking forward to it (though I am a little terrified). My personal goals are probably a bit more humble than my professional goals.
8. Make non-work friends
I love what I do. However, I cannot put my entire life into my work. I need to make some friends outside of work that I can hang out with when I need to get away. I have been able to do this in the past so I am not worried but listing this as a goal helps me avoid the trap of just work friends.
9. Reduce clutter
Clutter is around everyone. I have a ton of gizmos, gadgets, electronics, souvenirs, clothes, etc. that I've collected. I'm not generally a packrat but I want to make my life simpler. I need to start getting rid of stuff that I once though were essential. If I can get rid of my TV (and HTPC that goes with it), that will be a huge win.
In sports, athletes are told that they need to cross-train in order to be the most effective. Cross training is the act of training in a sport that is not your primary. This training has proven to make the athletes better at their primary sport. In that sense, I need to find something that is intellectually stimulating that is not computing. Philosophy may be something that I pick up.
11. Live healthier
This one is going to be tough. In college, we all tend to abuse our bodies. I need to put my college lifestyle behind me and live healthier. This probably means eating home cooked meals and exercising more.
In order to remind myself of this, I've actually taken an idea from software development. I am going to create a big poster and hang it on the wall. This poster just lists the 11 goals that I made above. Hopefully, it will be a constant reminder of my long terms goals and I can stay focused on achieving them.