Growing a Career is Like Growing a Garden

I never thought of myself as someone who could grow plants until I started taking care of them. I used to think plants simply needed water and sunlight, and those are enough to make them grow and shoot new leaves.

Pots in a garden (Source:

Pots in a garden (Source:

One time, because of my busy schedule, I neglected to water one of my potted plants. As you can imagine, the leaves had wilted by the time I saw the state they were in. Armed with that basic knowledge of water and sunlight, I tried to nurse the plant back to health.

Luckily, the “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” (yes, that’s what it’s really called) survived. It’s a hardy plant to begin with, but that’s not an excuse not to keep an eye on it. In fact, it’s quite finicky: it actually prefers being in the shade rather than under the full thrust of the sun. And it needs to be watered every two days, at least that’s what I noticed. Anything more than that and it will “drown.”

Among the plants I take care of, and there aren’t too many, the “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” reminds me most of growing a career. Tend to it (your career) and it will thrive. Neglect it, and, well, you know how that will end.

In managing a garden or a career, ask yourself these questions from time to time.

• Did I use the right soil for the right kind of plant?
• Do the plants receive enough water and sunlight?
• Am I using the right tools to turn that top soil or snip off that dead branch, among others?
• Do I periodically take out the bad stuff (such as weeds, dried leaves, dead branches) and put in what will make the plants grow further?
• Do I provide enough space for the plants to grow in or do I crowd them together?
• Similarly, are the plants still doing well in their pots? Is it time to move them to a bigger pot or to plant them in the ground?
• Overall, does my garden – no matter how small – look taken care of? Does it look inviting enough for those who’d like to take a peek? Is it something I can leave behind and that future caretakers need not worry about?

• Am I in the right work environment and for the right reasons? Am I truly capable of carrying out the responsibilities I had applied for (as an employee) or set out for myself (as an entrepreneur)?
• Do I take part in activities that will enhance my skills, make me learn new ones, and enable me to meet a diverse group of people? (In the future, some of them can turn out to be mentors or even business partners.)
• Am I using the right tools to get the job done? (It’s okay to ask for help, too, if something’s over your head.)
• Do I steer clear of non-productive activities and negative people? (They can quickly pull you down if you’re not mindful.)
• Do I multi-task to the point of exhaustion? Or do I prioritize tasks so that I’ll have the energy to do other things after work hours?
• Am I still doing well in my current job? Am I still productive, growing or is it time to unhitch from the post and move on?
• When I resign, will I leave behind a legacy for current and future employees to benefit from? Will I leave with a good name and reputation or will I have employers saying, “Good riddance!”

Just to let you know, I’ve now moved on to growing lavender plants. The four seedlings present new challenges (and how!), but because of the basic gardening lessons I learned from the “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” they look like they’ll survive.


6 responses

  1. Nice insights there. I agree everything you said. That’s why I am proud to be a gardener.


  2. Nice post. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


    1. I’m glad you like it. Thank you for the compliment.


    2. I hope you received the first reply I sent? It didn’t seem like it went through. Just in case, thank you for the compliment. Glad you liked the post.


  3. […] Similarly, nurturing friendship is like taking care of a garden. Pop in once in a while with a short SMS, email, or a phone call. Send a card even when there are […]


  4. […] have a potted plant that I talked about in this blog last year. Called “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” I had specifically chosen it because I was […]


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