Megan Tucker

Spring marks a time of renewal, as the weather turns warmer and we look forward to seasonal activities like seeing the cherry blossoms bloom, the opening day of Major League Baseball and Memorial Day barbecues. This inflection point may be a natural time to consider spring cleaning for more than your closets – it’s a great time to evaluate your career path.

At Reservoir, we conduct annual performance reviews at the end of the calendar year and an optional mid-year career pathing conversation. This mid-year check in – starting in spring – enables a reflection on goals set at the end of the previous year. But importantly, it also allows time to focus on what life at Reservoir can be like not just in the months ahead, but longer term toward (or further into) a desired career path.

Some tips to keep in mind, if you plan to have this conversation with your manager:

  1. Initiate the meeting with your manager. No one is in charge of your career except you. Don’t wait for your manager to bring up scheduling a meeting. Pick a time that works, and a quiet, distraction-free setting to engage in conversation.
  2. Set objective(s) and share them at the outset. Know what you want to accomplish during your time together. Is it talking through potential paths and beginning to identify what works for you? Do you need to understand what skills you need to pursue a certain path? Is it about how best to step up your leadership? Think about what’s important and communicate that at the start.
  3. Share your ultimate vision. You may know that you want to be a media relations director, content guru or operations officer. Or, you may just have a sense of the types of activities you like to manage on a day-to-day basis. Whatever your vision, share what you’re after so you and your manager can talk about the steps down the path to get there.
  4. Come with questions. You may have an idea of what you’re after in your career, you may have a lot of questions, or it could be a mix of both. Along with objectives and vision, consider any questions you have to speak through during the meeting. Your manager brings a valuable outside perspective and may notice things you don’t even notice about yourself. Asking a question like “what makes me come alive at work?” or “what do I do really well?” can help you lean into your strengths and provide clarity on your desired career path. 
  5. Agree on tangible next steps. You probably won’t have the rest of your professional life figured out in a single meeting, but you should agree on what steps you need to take from your time together. Is it a focus on new projects incorporating a new skill set? Is it a meeting in a few months’ time? Decide on what you need and stick to a plan to gauge progress.

Enjoy this season of renewal and happy career pathing!