Do You Have a Career Bucket List?

by Jennifer Miller on June 17, 2011

in Learning, Personal Effectiveness

do you have a career bucket listThe kids and I were on our way to a Little League game the other day when I mentioned, “Hey guys, what do you think about making a list of things to do during your summer break?”

“You mean, like a Bucket List?” asked my son.

“That’s a great idea!” I exclaimed so on the first day of summer break, we created a Summer 2011 Bucket List. What I love about this list is that the kids didn’t see it as a “things to do before I die”, which is one commonly interpreted version of The List. Instead, it was more of a “these would be great things to learn/do this summer”. The timeline was less intimidating and the end result wasn’t death.

Their perspective really helped me reframe the way I look at bucket lists. I used to view the items on the list as once-in-a-lifetime accomplishments with a personal emphasis. Now, with this slight tweak in perspective, I realized that someone can have different types of bucket lists. . .and different time horizons in which to fill the bucket as well.

This line of thinking brings me to a new place altogether: The Career Bucket List.

It occurs to me that for most people, this particular bucket list likely has many check marks, as well as strikethroughs. Some of the “to do” items were accomplished (“gain supervisory experience”), others shelved (“attend the Thunderbird School of Management”) and still others remain on the list, as beacons of what can be (“start my own business”).

What does your Career Bucket List look like? Does it represent the work life you envisioned at the start of your career? Or something different altogether? In either case, does it represent you to your satisfaction? It’s not too late to modify your bucket list, or even create a new one altogether.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Craig Juengling June 20, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Jennifer, lots of soul searching for those who follow you; too many are stuck in jobs they hate to pay the bills and add to the 401K pile. As a coach, I find people can love what they do again, if they stretch their limits and muscles to go places they once found uncomfortable. “The cave you fear to enter contains the treasure that you seek”. I had a colleague share this with me and I share it regularly with my clients. Enter the cave… and knock something off the bucket list.

Great post; I hope you cause some muscles to be used that haven’t been used in a long time with your readers.


Jennifer June 21, 2011 at 10:04 am


Yes, I found I had to soul-search a bit just to think of what would be in my career bucket at this point in my life. My personal bucket list is brimming with all sorts of ideas . . . yet as I head towards my third decade of employment, the bucket is a bit empty right now. Early in my career, I had many things on The List, and am grateful to say that many of those things have been accomplished.

It’s definitely a bonus when a blog post stretches the person who wrote it! 🙂

Jennifer June 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm


No matter what the kids come up with, it’ll be worthwhile!

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