Charting a Course for Success

UC Berkeley Extension
5 min readDec 12, 2023


OpenAI and ChatGPT. The call back to the office. Creatively collaborating in a hybrid, remote or a combo workforce. Layoffs and potential recession.

This year has been doozy. So it’s only natural to reflect on this year’s wins, losses and otherwise “go with the flow” moments to help inform, inspire and motivate us as we move into 2024. We should look at the new year with fresh eyes-a year that can be full of new opportunities to take advantage of, solid avenues for success and new sources of motivation.

Here’s our annual “new year, new you” career resolution list to keep you moving forward-with some inspiration from our recent graduates sprinkled throughout.

Become an AI Native-With Some Skepticism

With the advent of generative AI and large-language models and chat bots, we want to look at the skills that you will need, the jobs that are impacted and the opportunities to increase productivity-not only for yourself but for your organization as a whole. With AI evolving at lightning speed, are we quickly entering the age of adopt or perish? So we chatted with data scientist Chalenge Masekera on a recent Future of Work podcast episode. Here’s what he has to say about becoming an AI native, but with some guard rails:

“It’s not like you throw the info into ChatGPT and copy and paste the result. That’s why I think jobs are not going to be lost. As a specialized person, you can then say, ‘This answer is correct; this answer is not correct.’ And then you can either prompt it further so that it gives you a more factual answer. You give it a great starting point so that you can then use your skills to make your work easier.

“While ChatGPT is amazing, it actually made me think of things in a different way and helped me a lot in terms of how I function. Once I have an issue, I just go to ChatGPT. This is the problem that I’m having and I describe it. It will give you very succinct answers, which is a big change and a big boost to my productivity.”

“Be curious, humble and open to learning! Learning to become a lifelong learner has benefited me greatly, and seeking and learning from the expertise of others has contributed to my development. I am always eager to continue to learn from my peers and clients.”
Daniel Zakaria

Less Meetings!

We collaborate in a number of ways, using a number of different tools and in different places, but do we really understand how to collaborate effectively? What is the difference between collaboration and coordination? How can collaboration inspire innovation? When does collaboration become overkill and lead to employee fatigue? What can individuals and leaders do to cultivate a collaboration community?

Rebecca Hinds, head of The Work Innovation Lab at Asana, suggests this experiment:

“The very first experiment we focused on was called Meeting Doomsday with a very small team-a nine-person team-of employees at Asana. We asked them to delete all of their small recurring meetings-the ones with five or fewer people-for 48 hours.

“And then after 48 hours, we asked them to add back the meetings to their calendar, but only the ones that they thought were valuable. We saw these interesting changes taking place. We saw some meetings were deleted entirely. Some 30-minute meetings changed to 25-minute meetings. Some weekly meetings changed to monthly meetings. Within this small team, each person ended up saving 11 hours per month of time just by this 48-hour activity. Such a simple exercise to gain back that much time-I think two-and-a-half work weeks per year-just by eliminating some of those unproductive, small, recurring meetings.

Skill Development and Continuous Learning

The world is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and the job market is no exception. To stay relevant and competitive, skill development is a cornerstone of any career goal for 2024. Whether it’s mastering new technologies, refining existing skills or acquiring new certificates, committing to continuous learning will be crucial in staying ahead.

“Take courses that speak to areas you would like to improve on or know more about that can be transferred to the work you do. Also, take a class that not only speaks to your current role, but something that also sparks your interest. Know what your immediate needs are but also know what your future needs may be. You may be thinking about stepping into a new role, so why not take one of the courses that speak to that? Make this journey fun-and your own!”
Fernando Villanueva

Professional Networking

In the digital age, networking has taken on a new dimension. Establishing and committing to growing your professional connections is paramount in the virtual realm through platforms such as LinkedIn. Expand your professional network by actively engaging in online communities, participating in industry discussions and attending virtual events. Building meaningful connections will not only open doors to new opportunities, but also provide valuable insights and perspectives.

Work-Life Balance

While professional growth is a priority, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is equally essential for sustained success and personal well-being. Create a schedule that fosters your productivity, creativity and overall job satisfaction. Set realistic expectations, practice effective time management and prioritize self-care to avoid burnout.

Entrepreneurial Pursuits

While you’re taking a business view of your career, why not do it like an entrepreneur? It’s a way of thinking that everyone should incorporate. Why? An entrepreneurial mindset can help identify new growth paths. An essential life skill is to think like an entrepreneur, and a key part of an entrepreneurial mindset is abundance: Know that you can improve a situation, ultimately make more money and create new opportunities. Find out how.

Make an Impact

Volunteer your time

Volunteering your time is the epitome of altruism, but a related benefit to your selfless service is that it can also give you a career boost. The first thing to do when approaching volunteerism from a position of self-interest is some self-investigation. What do you have to offer and what do you want to gain? Let’s break this down.

Find and be a mentor!

If your company has a mentorship program in place, now is the time to engage with it. If you are not so fortunate, take control of the process and create your own mentorship relationships.

Invest in Your Career Goals

Advancing in one’s career involves setting clear milestones and actively working toward achieving them. Take a strategic approach without breaking the bank. Jumping into a single course or a full certificate is a worthwhile investment in your career that many companies will sponsor in order to retain great talent. Many organizations offer education and training benefits, so your courses could be fully or partially reimbursed. Find out how!

“Don’t let the amount of money to continue your education hold you back from what you want to do-there are other ways to accomplish your goals and UC Berkeley Extension is a great way to achieve that.”
Sandra Titre

We’re excited to see what 2024 will bring you! Whether it’s through a single course or a full certificate, you can learn from working professionals to gain the practical skills that hiring managers are looking for now.



UC Berkeley Extension

UC Berkeley Extension is the continuing education branch of the University of California, Berkeley. We empower learners to meet educational and career goals.