Following Up is the sixth and most challenging step in the TSA Career Planning Process. At this point, you have:
- Assessed your interests, skills, and values using the appropriate tools described in Step 1.
- Researched career options using the tools described in Step 2 and Step 3 to set career goals and determine the developmental activities that you wish to pursue this year.
- Reviewed the training available in the TSA Online Learning Center (OLC) and followed procedures to add relevant components to your OLC Development Plan in Step 4.
- Created your draft TSA Career Plan Form (doc, 165Kb) described in Step 4 listing additional developmental activities that you want to pursue for professional growth.
- Met with your supervisor, discussed your career aspirations, incorporated your supervisor's ideas into your Career Plan and provided your supervisor with a copy of the signed TSA Career Plan Form, as detailed in Step 5.
It looks like everything is in place for a successful year of professional growth. You have spent a lot of time gathering information and planning what you intend to do. However, this is not the end of the TSA Career Planning Process. None of your plans will materialize if you do not take the initiative to follow up and adjust your plans as circumstances change. This is your plan. It belongs to you and it is your responsibility to make it happen.
What Can Go Wrong?
- Your request for general training funds may not be granted. You and your supervisor may have agreed that your developmental activities were relevant to TSA's mission and that it would be of benefit to both you and the organization for you to pursue them. Later you find out that there are not enough general training funds to support your goals this year.
- Your request to spend on-the-job time learning a new skill or perfecting one of your strengths may not be granted. Again, both you and your supervisor may have agreed that an activity was a good idea, but changing work demands could make it impossible to pursue the activity on the job.
- Because of new information or changes in your work/life responsibilities, career goals that seemed appropriate at the time of your career discussion no longer fit.
- You intend to follow up on your TSA Career Plan but somehow you never get around to completing any of the developmental activities.
Any of the above scenarios are possible. If TSA isn't able to support your plan, if your goals change, or if time passes and you don't get around to following up on your plan you need to step back and adjust your plan. Develop a plan that is more manageable and in line with your current thinking. It is your career and you need to be creative in maintaining your motivation and finding alternative ways to meet your goals.
- If TSA isn't able to support your original developmental activities because of funding or time constraints, talk with your supervisor, a TSA Career Coach, and/or a mentor to brainstorm alternative strategies.
- If you lose interest in a goal, try to determine why. Did you set a goal without doing enough research? Have your interests changed? Have the competencies required become less appealing as you learned more about them? Was the goal a poor fit with other responsibilities in your life? Once you know why a goal no longer appeals to you, you can use the tools and services that TSA provides to do research and come up with a more appropriate goal.
- If you believe you are interested in developing a specific competency but you never seem to follow through, you may need help in setting priorities and creating more structure in your life. You might benefit from taking an OLC time management course, talking with a TSA Career Coach or setting up regular check-in times with your supervisor to discuss your progress.
In summary, your career will always be a work in progress. That is why the steps in the TSA Career Planning Process are arranged in a circle. You will repeat these six steps many times in your life. If you think of yourself as a continuous learner, you can learn just as much from mistakes as you can from your successes. Take the time to figure out what isn't working, adjust your plan and continue to progress in your career.
You have now completed the sixth step in the TSA Career Planning Process. Return to the TSA Career Planning Guide Table of Contents and scroll down to the appendix for a complete list of all of the resource links mentioned in the Guide.