Friday, March 31, 2006

My Personal Development Plan - Part 1

My company requires all employees to complete a personal development plan. I won't repeat my issues with the whole process right now (see my previous post if you want a whine/rant on the subject). While I believe that the self evaluation and develoment plan can't serve it's intended purpose if your "development goals" aren't things that you want your managers to be aware of, I think the process has some merit outside of the scope of your job and employee-manager relationship. In other words, It made me think about my real personal development goals for the next year. For this post, I'd like to evaluate how the previous year has gone. Yes, I know that many people do this at new years', but I kind of like the idea of going from birthday to birthday. Besides, for me there's a lot less to worry about in March than in December, so I might actually keep this up in the future :)

I started a new job. While I had a rough time adjusting to being a working mom (and to the separation from my daughter), things are going fairly well now. I had trouble at first getting comfortable around my new coworkers because of my natural introvert tendencies to hide away until I feel comfortable with people (getting to know people takes longer when you aren't comfortable enough to actually converse with them...a lovely vicious cycle), but things are definitely looking up. I wouldn't call myself an outstanding performer as of yet, but I've actually managed to benefit my team (who knew that old, rusty Visual Basic skills would actually be valuable these days...) and can certainly hold my own.

I made my goal of providing breastmilk to my daughter until at least her first birthday. Actually, she still nurses at bedtime, but I pumped for her right up till she turned one and was happy to drink cow's milk. That even included a 3-day business trip where me, my husband, and my daughter all survived the separation (and a hard-earned freezer stash of milk came in really hand). That was a lot of work, and the pumping took a lot of my "free time" (I basically didn't go out for lunch at all because my break time was spent pumping), but I made it, and feel confident that I could do it for another baby as well.

We got a better handle on housework after I went back to work. The first couple of months things were pretty bad (especially compared to my stay-at-home days). We hired help--a nice lady who comes once a month and scrubs the whole house top to bottom--she even dusts the lamp shades and tops of shelves!. As Charlotte's gotten bigger, the housework challenges have changed (from carrying her in the sling while I cleaned to cleaning while she played on the floor, to letting her "help" with some tasks...)

We got our finances re-arranged somewhat. The transition to 2 full time careers to 1 career and a stay-at-home-mom (drawing on savings to make ends meet) to 2 full time careers + 1 full time daycare hasn't been easy. My husband and I had to have a lot of discussions and a lot of work re-arranging our bills, paychecks, and spending habits, but we're on track and things are looking up. This will hopefully feed into one of my goals for next year.

Finally, I learned to knit. So far all I've actually completed is to knit the cuffs and bottom band of a crocheted sweater for Charlotte (that's 99% seam and some buttons to go). I first started on a shawl, but ended up ripping it out because it was really hard to see (funky yarn is not good for a first project). But, after quite a few test swatches, I think I've mastered the basics of the skill. I also bought a set of Knifty Knitters which are round knitting looms. Those have been fun, and I've made several hats, a couple of scarves, and some baby booties so far on them. I forgot to take a photo of my last project--hat and booties set for a friend's baby shower last weekend, complete with pom-poms on top and for the ties of the booties. Hopefully the sweater will get done soon, and I'll post a photo of it, modeled by Charlotte of course.

Stay tuned for the second part of this containing my goals for the next year :)


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