Learn the steps towards mapping out
your career plans with ACS’s new
For Graduate Students
and Postdocs ChemIDP.org
Sunday, August 19, 11:00 AM to 12:45 PM
Boston Convention Center at the
256th ACS National Meeting.
PLANNING YOUR CAREER
Write your big goals down in a place
where you will see them every day.
Write your sub-goals down as well, and
check the list daily to see what progress you can make, or whether there’s a
deadline coming up. Share them with
someone else, and ask that person to
hold you accountable.
Ideally, find someone who is working on a big goal of his or her own, so
you can support each other. Maybe you
could meet regularly to discuss progress
and challenges. At the very least, have a
colleague check in with you on the dates
you specified and ask you how you are
doing. Just knowing that you’re going
to have to tell the person can be a very
When you finish a goal, check it off your
list and celebrate the accomplishment.
Then, replace it with a new goal. After
all, you already have that time blocked
out for career development, so keep
using it to advance your career. Some
habits you don’t want to break!
Review your goals on a regular basis.
January 1st, the start of the school year,
just before your annual performance review at work—whatever you think of as
the beginning of the year is a great time
to review what you’ve done over the
past 12 months and confirm your plans
for the future.
Review not just your goals, but also
their prioritization. Your personal or
professional circumstances may have
changed, or you may have learned something that requires revising some of your
goals. For example, at the end of their
second year in graduate school, many students decide a tenure-track position is not
for them, so they start reevaluating their
long-term professional goals.
There’s an old joke about how to eat an
elephant. The answer is, “one bite at a
time.” While planning out your entire professional future can be daunting, breaking it down into manageable
pieces that you can attack and conquer
in a logical manner makes it not only
achievable, but even enjoyable. Soon
you will be looking back at how far you
have come and setting even bigger, more
audacious goals—and achieving them! n
Lisa M. Balbes,
Ph.D., has been
a freelance tech-
nical writer and
editor at Balbes
LLC for over
26 years. She is
also the author
of Nontraditional Careers for Chemists:
New Formulas for Chemistry Careers
(Oxford University Press).
PLANNING YOUR CAREER