Draw Your Own Map

A very important apprenticeship pattern to keep in mind is Draw Your Own Map.  The pattern discussing the importance of planning out the next steps that you need to take in your career.  It is important to talk to your bosses and others that have been in the field longer than you about the direction that you need to take to advance your career, but it is important to note that while you should listen to what they have to say and take it into consideration do not blindly heed their advice.  When you do this, you are no longer in control of where your career and to a degree where your life is headed.  You need to sort through all the advice you are given and decide if it is in your best interest to follow said advice.

One thing that I have always believed in and kept in mind when following advice of others or handing out advice of my own is that it is very easy for someone else to tell you what you should do because they don’t have to wake up and deal with it tomorrow.  Most of the time while your mentor may care what happens and worry about if you will succeed they don’t feel the same pressure of what happens or the negative or even positive consequences from that decision.  In the Army it is all about progressing and moving forward in your career.  My mentor was always pushing for me and others to take more professional development classes, physical fitness, and marksmanship that all play a part in promotions and moving to the next level.  I didn’t put in as much thought or personal planning into this process that I wish that I had and kind of just went along with the flow.  While I still moved forward, I missed a lot of opportunities that were available to me because of that and I intend to fix that in the next chapter of my life.

This is my last semester and while I have already started to submit applications there is another process that I only half thought of until reading up on this pattern and ingrained even more on this second edition of this post.  I am going to sit down and physically draw some type of diagram or timeline, whichever seems to make more sense to me after I start, to map out immediate (~1-2 yrs), short term(~5-10 yrs), and long term goals(>10 yrs) and check points of what I want out of life moving forward.

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