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How to Create Professional Resolutions

Professional resolutions could be a foreign concept to CS techs. When we have fallen into the monotony of the punch-in, punch-out mentality, it’s hard to think our job situation could be anything different. But it’s the new year, the time when our calendars motivate us to think of all the goals we want to achieve in the year to come. Sure, there are the classic resolutions like lose weight, drink more water, or learn a different language. But what about professional resolutions? If we could change anything about how we professionally grow, what would it be? Some actionable resolutions can include certification, a raise, a climb up the career ladder, and even a position in a different facility.

Regardless of your vision, own it. A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. So when deciding on this year’s professional resolution, have a firm stance in the decision to move toward the accomplishment. Remove vagueness from the resolution by being specific. If the  resolution is to become a CS manager, don’t short change the professional ambition by saying  “a move up the career ladder.” Specificity in professional resolution creation is crucial because it will help define the steps necessary to achieve it. Be honest, also. There is nothing too grand or too unreasonable during the resolution creation phase. Who cares if you’re only a Tech I? There is nothing silly about professional ambition or the desire for accomplishment. If being a department manager is the goal, then own it!

The next step in creating a professional resolution is determining why it is important to us. Why is the motivation behind our professional resolutions. Again, be specific and honest! The why behind our resolution is vital to its longevity and consistency throughout the coming year. General and overly simplified reasons will not stand up to time. There is no shame if the motivators behind the resolution include finances, personal satisfaction, praise, approval, etc. These are realistic motivators that CS techs may view as inglorious. These are perfectly acceptable motivators in professional resolutions. If the motivation is money, why? What would the money be spent on? The answer to this question is the honest and specific motivation to the professional resolution.

Most resolutions do not make it to the end of February, let alone the beginning of the next year. It is in these first months of the new year that we must create actionable steps in our resolution to ensure this doesn’t happen. Do you want to be a manager? A professional resolution without actions will always remain a professional wish. Our action items will become the map to professional resolution accomplishment, and turn a wish into a goal.

The first action step is to make a list of all the things possibly needed to achieve your goal. It’s important to be accurate during planning. Make sure to start in the right direction by not assuming the facts about the goal. Get real information about it. If the goal is to be a manager, pull a job listing for that position to see what skill sets or experience employers are asking for. Personalize the goal by including yourself in it. Determine the type of manager you would like to be. Recall previous managers that may have shaped that ambition. What did they do or not do? Reach out to a CS manager via social media and follow their action steps.

When CS techs start to create action in their resolutions, it will be easy to see everything they don’t have. It is easy to fall down a self-defeating spiral of what we think we know. Factual and unbiased information also keeps us from limiting ourselves. Remember, if we had all the knowledge, experience, and demands for our professional resolution, why would it be our resolution in the first place?

A year is a long time. While the end result of our professional resolution is going to be the best accomplishment ever, it will take time to get there. This is why professional resolutions typically cease to exist after the first two months of the new year. The initial motivation of achieving the goal has faded because it hasn’t been attained in that immediate time. Action is crucial for progress, but rewards maintain motivation.

CS techs must include rewards at moments of personal success on this journey to keep their motivation up. In the grand scheme of our professional resolution, what are some moments of personal success? If the resolution is to become a CS manager, one action may be to attain a leadership certification. The main reward will be passing the test, but what about all the work in between? CS techs must recognize the actions that lead up to achieving that certification. Paying for the test, signing up, studying, and feeling frustrated are also actions that lead up to certification. These moments of personal success are just as important as attaining leadership certification and becoming a CS manager. Recognize that work.

New year reflection
It is important to remember that moments of fatigue, frustration, and failure do not mean our professional resolutions are not valid or achievable. Let’s say we fail the leadership test we worked so hard to pass. It’s going to hit us hard. We may begin to doubt ourselves. We will challenge the possibility of completing our resolution. Do not give up. Instead, pause and take the time needed to feel that frustration, sadness, and discouragement. Pause to figure out what action needs to be taken next. Pause to plan how to get back in action.

If time is needed to step back from the action required for a professional resolution, that is acceptable. Remember that resolutions are seldom forgotten, though. It will continue to pop up in moments of your professional life until it is achieved. The demand to be back in resolution action will show up every time your resolution why is activated. So if the why was money, a staunch reminder of this resolution is going to occur biweekly on pay day for the rest of your employment life.

Professional resolutions are vital to remaining engaged in our career. If a stagnant feeling has overtaken our professional thoughts, a resolution is in order. Action doesn’t make us perfect, but it will always lead to something different.

Sarah B. Cruz is a certified sterile processing technician with a passion for the profession. Starting out as a veterinary assistant, she wanted to learn how to reprocess instruments in order to be more beneficial to the neurology team. She attended a CSS certification program through her local community college and it changed her life in so many ways. After leaving a profession she had for years, Sarah acquired her first job in central sterile processing. It couldn’t have been a better decision! Sarah’s professional ambition is to take her job in CSS and forge her career. The profession has opened numerous doors and opportunities for her that she feels compelled to inform everyone of their own ability to do so. Sarah is looking forward to relaying some of the goals, ambitions, and hurdles that CS technicians face in the trenches, while relaying compelling solutions that will promote patient safety and field growth.

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