Staying Focused on Your Career Goals in Today’s Turmoil

Christina Bielaszka-DuVernay, former senior associate editor at, interviewed Tim Butler recently regarding the topic of Staying Focused on Your Career Goals in Today’s Turmoil.  Tim Butler is a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and director of its career development programs.  Tim is also the author of Getting Unstuck: How Dead Ends Become New Paths (Harvard Business Press, 2007).

The interview summary, which was published in the Harvard Business Review On Point fall 2009 edition, contains excellent food for thought and action regarding staying on track with your career goals in today’s turmoil and economy.  Just a few of Tim Butler’s perspectives and advice are as follows:

  • In boom times or bust, the immediate demands of a business situation will always tend to crowd out an individual’s long-term career plans and learning agenda.  In a time of crisis, urgent matters will drive out less-urgent matters, even if the less-urgent matters are actually more important.
  • Most professionals should be looking three years ahead and thinking about the ways in which they can make their actual day-to-day responsibilities more congruent with their deepest interests.
  • Thinking about what kind of culture they want to have around them and how they can do more of the more-meaningful aspects of their work.  They should try to imagine as deeply as possible their vision for their work reality.  Then they should work backward from that to determine what they need to learn or experience over the next one or two years to be seen as a highly desirable candidate to step into that role.
  • The task is to keep before you the vision of where you want to be and to take advantage of every opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience that will move you closer to that vision.
  • Making decisions based on your vision of where you want to be in three years’ time isn’t always easy; it takes both discipline and guesswork.  But keeping your eyes fixed on your three-year (or five-year or longer) career horizon, no matter the current economic situation, gives you the best chances of making your vision a reality.

I suggest each of us take a few minutes from our busy and very hectic personal and professional schedules to think deeply about this excellent advice from a highly credible person who represents and works with a world-renowned teaching and learning organization, The Harvard Business School.

If you are too busy to take the time to think deeply, evaluate yourself and your performance, and make appropriate adjustments in your personal and professional life, you are too busy to achieve true success…  which is to achieve your full potential… your personal best. 

Be sure you are Staying Focused on Your Career Goals in Today’s Turmoil.

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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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