I came across an exercise in some popular education materials that really resonated with me. I’ve never been much into the long-term career planning: “where do you want to be 3, 5, 10 years from now?”, probably because I want to be wherever the big fight/action/fun is, and I don’t forecast well enough to know where that’s going to be. Honestly, I’ve never really had a career plan at all; I find work that is challenging and interesting (and, okay, try to avoid big bureaucracies as much as possible; I’m not super-big on rule-following!) and do that.
But this exercise is different. The authors asked participants to write an imaginary newspaper heading of their work 5 years from now (not their job, but their organization/community’s activism), and then to start thinking about what it would take along the way (those interim benchmarks again!) to get there.
And that got me thinking about all of the times that I’ve mentally rewritten headlines for articles featuring my organizing or advocacy work (because I’m almost never happy with the ones I get), or optimistically labeled my press releases with the headline I’d really like to see the next morning. It’s a good exercise, really–how do you want others to be talking about your work in 5 years, and what kinds of assumptions are you making, then, about where you’ll be at that point?
Please post your headlines and/or your reflection on whether this is a helpful exercise for you/your colleagues/your grassroots leaders. And it’s okay if you have more than one headline–maybe one that would run locally and one in a national paper? One for your work on each issue area?