Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Defining career goals

So the time is coming up for our annual reviews, and I'm dreading it. Not because my performance is below-par, but because I'll have to fill out the self-review form - specifically, the career goals section.

In five years with this company, I've never figured out exactly how to answer the question of, "what are your goals for the next 12 months, and what kind of training is necessary to achieve them?" When I was in consulting, I could say I wanted to learn a new technology, and my manager would look at it and say, "Well, we have a new client who uses that technology", or "So-and-so is an expert in that technology - you can be a junior on her team for this project and learn it." But working in-house, how do I answer this question? If I say I want to learn a new technology, there's always the question of why. My company has very specific uses for Notes/Domino, and saying I want to learn AJAX because it can do cool things for our web databases doesn't fly, since we don't have many web-enabled databases. And if I were to say I wanted to learn a completely unrelated technology, like Ruby, the assumption would be that I was looking for a new job, and the company is certainly not going to pay to train me in a technology I can't use for their benefit.

1 comment:

Gregg Eldred said...

Frame the technology within a specific business goal. Such as "I want to learn RSS because Marketing has a goal of better communication with the customers." I guess that what I am getting at is that you need to find the specific goals of the organization, or your part of it, and then use the technology to achieve those goals. AJAX/RSS/XML/Eclipse/Ruby/etc. are the TOOLS to help the organization get better margins/productivity/etc.

HTH.