A Point of View

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A Point of View

I once heard a historian say his entire career was about developing a view. He studied international history and was familiar with global politics and economics. His vision afforded him not only a view, but also a point of view -- he had opinions. Career development, like history, is also a matter of developing vision. With vision you gain a point of view and all the opinions that come along with perception.

One way of looking at this is to realize that by the time you reach the end of your career, you'll have a vision of how it all happened. You'll be able to look back and describe every part: You'll have your own heroic vision and you'll also have opinions about what you see. But career development is a matter of looking forward and only partly a matter of seeing the big picture. Career development also requires micro vision: that is, seeing the course of a day and the pattern of a week. Professional growth requires you to develop and hold both a micro vision and a heroic vision together in your mind.

It's easier to see that big picture if you have hopes. For example, I hope to become ___ (you fill in the blank). But the realities of this very competitive world make it difficult to select and pursue your hopes. You'll have to deal with many small choices and intervening crises. To succeed at the big picture you must have a grasp on more immediate terrain. The question becomes: how does my micro-vision and the big picture fit together? And the answer is: you must learn to understand scope.

By dictionary definition, scope means: 'the area that the mind can cover; range of view; extent of perception or intellectual grasp; as, beyond the scope of a child's understanding.' But in more practical terms, scope is a tool. Boat builders use a list of all the construction phases they must complete to build their boat; they call this list the scope. Carpenters study this list, affording themselves a vision of how their project will progress. Sometimes it's a single page list, which usually means they're building a small boat; yet for a large boat, the scope list can be many pages long.

Similarly, career development requires you to have a mental grasp of your days and weeks. In your mind you can scope (or list) the various parts of your day and the diverse parts of your weeks. So scope is one of the tools of vision and has everything to do with how the big picture and micro vision fit together. Scope gives you a view of your career development and allows you to hold a point of view about the problems you encounter along the way.