One-woman career retreating

Recently I have seen a couple of instances in my professional life and thought, I really need to devote some time to think about my career. More than a couple, actually: where do I want my career to go, and to do? What opportunities am I going to grab and which ones am I going to let float on by? Because I’m one archivist with a full life, so I am not here to do everything.

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Recreation of my retreat because apparently I didn’t take any photos! Important take-away: notebooks for days.

At the end of the summer, I set aside a half-day to do a personal retreat and consider some big questions about myself and my career and also answer some specific questions about upcoming opportunities. It was great, and I highly recommend treating yourself! Here are some resources that helped me determine what I wanted to consider in my four-hour window:

  • How to Conduct a Career-Planning Retreat. I condensed the three parts into around 30-minute pieces each, though I didn’t time myself; that’s just what came naturally. Being honest with myself what my current strengths and areas for development are, and then using that information to plot my future conceptually and into discreet steps makes sense for me.
  • How to Plan a Personal Day-Long Mindfulness and Meditation Retreat. My day was a less meditation and more writing, but coming back to these big questions was good. Summary always helps illuminate the way and provide a clear goal for me to focus on. While I didn’t do a full day this time, I would like to in the future! My pal Jennie recently took, I believe, at least 36 hours for a personal retreat on the coast and … yes. In the future, I’d like to add a walk along a body of water.

In keeping with the first link, I wanted to have a day where big thoughts were distilled into action items. “Where do I want to go?” is important, but so is actually getting there. To this end, some questions that I considered were:

  • What do I value?
  • How do I view myself? And how much of that is true?
  • What clear direction or calling has emerged for how I want to guide my career?
  • What is lacking in my job currently?
  • What interim steps do I need to take to get from here to there?
  • What training do I need to get there?

I anticipate that as I begin to check things off my list, the questions will evolve, so each retreat will require a little bit of advanced planning and question-seeking on my part. I am aiming to retreat twice a year – a short, half-day check-in and an annual longer (whole day even!?!?) retreat. In theory, the whole day will take place in advance of my annual goal setting in January. So I’m blocking a day off in my calendar and brainstorming where to get my shoreline walk fix now!

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