December 26, 2012

What I have learnt (in 2012)

This year is coming to an end and the time for making plans for the next is upon us. Even if you are not the type of person that likes making new years resolutions these holidays are as good a time as any for planning your next move. I encourage you to give your thoughts some room and take time in between Christmas dinner and counting down from 10 to make a decision about your personal priorities. Here are some of my reflections about the year that has passed:

What I have learnt in 2012

As a trainee I have had the chance to work on several projects at my bank and found ways to test and develop my abilities at leading from within a group. I had my troubles at first, taking on too much responsibility for the outcomes and trying to force my ideas on people where I needed to be convincing them and taking their opinions openly. Everything worked out fine and I found new pleasure in my role after I relaxed into the idea that the success or failure of our common effort was not 100% in my hands. 
Lesson: Leadership takes practice (or: having read all the advice on a topic does not mean you know how to follow it) 

For three monthy I worked in human resources. I was there for quite a few job interviews and got to challenge people with probing questions about their life and career. I got to decide who was invited for interviews and whose resumé did not fit the description of the job. This task was difficult to do well because while I was impressed by some people and underwhelmed by others the first and last question always was if they were the right person for the job. 
Lesson: Testing and judging people is not the job I want.

This whole year was pretty much entirely shaped by work. I found less and less time to regularly follow my hobbies and other interests that make me feel complete. When I decided to run a half marathon, inspired by a coworker, I trained hard for three months and achieved my goal. Still: motivation is harder and energy is scarcer than before. 
Lesson: Keeping up with many interests at once takes a lot of effort. In the future I will give more attention to my work-life-balance again.

December 20, 2012


ARIES (March 21-April 19): Swans, geese, and ducks molt all their flight feathers at once, which means they may be unable to fly for several weeks afterwards. We humans don't do anything like that in a literal way, but we have a psychological analog: times when we shed outworn self-images. I suspect you're coming up on such a transition, Aries. While you're going through it, you may want to lie low. Anything resembling flight -- launching new ventures, making big decisions, embarking on great adventures -- should probably be postponed until the metamorphosis is complete and your feathers grow back. 
I have been working a lot in this last year. Since I came to my current employer at the end of last year I have been learning a lot about the financial world and business in general. My dad remarked on how my use of language had changed to a different vocabulary that includes all those professional terms and expressions like "communicate changes within the team", "control the resources of our project", "manage my time". I seldom emerged from work to really reflect on the changes in my life and in myself. However I still make sure that I get to relax and spend time with my friends and family, but that leaves little time to sit down and be still. 

Note to self: Make more time to reflect and plan the future next year and get ready to complete the metamorphosis! Take flight again!