Feb. 7, 2007

Shared Expectations and Goal-Setting (2)

I’m pretty convinced that Alan MacEachern eats Funny for breakfast; that or Wheaties, but either way, his Academic Alphabet has had me snickering in my sleeve. In my never-ending search to write Compelling History, I went to ask Alan how to be a funny writer. As I expected, it would appear that practice continues to make perfect. Subsequently, our conversation shifted to broader program goals. Although I sometimes find the broader aims of the Public History program a little elusive, the program’s flexibility is definitely one of its strengths.

It is therefore left up to me, to a certain degree, to set my own goals and then create some shared expectations with Alan. I think that goal-setting is incredibly important in order to maintain focus, stay motivated, be accountable, and measure success. I was surprised to discover in Museum Administration: An Introduction that goal-setting is important enough to be touched on in multiple chapters, but as I have been doing research for a summer internship, I have certainly come across mission statements that set rather unrealistic goals.

Goal-setting is the intentional act of considering your aspirations and laying out a plan and timeline for achieving those aspirations. Some people might think that the saying is cliché, but I’ve always been a “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” sort of guy, so I think that if you follow SMART guidelines, you’re setting yourself up for a success. SMART, by the way, is what all goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-wise. Here are my goals for the rest of my Public History year:

1) Brevity in blog posts. Keep each post to one page in a word processor. Why? To practice being concise; to avoid boring the reader; to save time for other assignments!

2) Keep it positive. For every criticism, give a suggested solution. Why? To aim for humour; to remember that this is an awesome program and a fascinating field to be in!

3) Be consistent. Put up at least one post a week; keep same lines of argument running throughout posts to send overall message about Public History; work on at least one Python tutorial per month. Why? To maintain a steady flow of ideas for my millions of readers in the blogosphere; to develop useful, transferable skills that will make me an asset in a number of fields but particularly in Public History.

4) Play. Come up with an activity for at least one class each week, particularly Public History, that is good as a focusing activity; post a description of the activity on blog. Why? To encourage fun; to have fun; to practice what I preach.

5) Find an internship that gives me breadth of experience by offering a balance of office administration, education, interpretation, and interaction with visitors and the institution’s collection. Why? To develop as many skills as possible for use in the Public History field.