Dreading the Corporate Personal Development Plan (PDP)?

The ritual of the Personal Development PlanIn the “Vent” channel of a Discord community I’m part of, a friend, Jay, recently posted their dismay at having to write and submit a Personal Development plan.

About as much fun as the companion ritual of the Individual Annual Performance Review?!

So leveraging Claude.ai for a bit of fun, I created some PDP options for Jay.

My Personal Development Plan as Told by Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump on a park bench with a box of chocolates

Mama always said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Well, I reckon this here Personal Development Plan is kinda like that too.

Where I See Myself in 5 Years
Mama also said, “You have to do the best with what God gave you.” So in 5 years, I see myself doin’ just that — my best. Maybe it’ll be here, maybe it’ll be somewhere else. Like when I was runnin’ across America, I didn’t know where I’d end up, but I kept on goin’.

Career Aspirations
Lieutenant Dan once told me, “Gump, you’re gonna be a shrimp boat captain.” But that wasn’t really my dream. My dream is simple — I wanna do good work and get paid for it, just like when I was mowin’ lawns or playin’ ping pong. I don’t need no fancy title or big office.

Skills to Develop
Jenny taught me that sometimes you gotta find your own way. So I reckon I’ll keep learnin’ and doin’ what feels right. Maybe I’ll get better at using them computer machines, or maybe I’ll learn to play the harmonica. Who knows?

Goals and Objectives
My goal is to be like a feather — just floatin’ along, doin’ what I’m supposed to do. I aim to do my work, get my paycheck, and go home happy. And if somebody wants to leave me alone while I’m doin’ it, well, that’d be just fine.

In conclusion, life is like a box of chocolates, but this here Personal Development Plan is more like a box of Jenny’s chocolates — I know exactly what I’m gonna get, and I like it just fine the way it is.

A Most Peculiar Personal Development Plan, as penned by the Bard

Act I: The Present State of Affairs
Image of Shakespeare at a desk writing his Personal Development Plan
To plan or not to plan, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To quit, to sleep —
No more — and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That corporate flesh is heir to.

Act II: Visions of the Future
Five years hence, where shall I find myself?
Not in this gilded cage, I dare to dream.
For ’tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d,
To break these corporeal bonds and fly
To realms unknown, where freedom rings.

Act III: On Ambition and Its Discontents
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet here, I have no taste for’t. Your crown, good sir,
Sits heavy on the brow, and I’ll have none.
Give me instead honest work and fair coin,
And solitude to ply my humble trade.

Act IV: The Nature of Meaningful Labor
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
But here, I seek not fortune’s fickle favor,
But work that stirs the soul and feeds the spirit,
A task well done, its own reward contains.

Act V: A Humble Epilogue
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.
Yet I, content to play my single role,
Seek not the spotlight nor the director’s chair.
Grant me my peace, my work, my modest wage,
And I shall count myself a fortunate man.

Thus ends this most peculiar development plan,
Writ not in hope of praise or lofty seat,
But as a true reflection of a heart
That values simple joys and honest toil.

The Costanza Guide to Personal Development
(Or: How to Pretend You’re Working While Doing Absolutely Nothing)

Where I See Myself in 5 YearsPhotograph of George Constanza handing over his Personal Development Plan
You wanna know where I see myself in 5 years? Not here, that’s for sure! I mean, come on! Five years? I can barely plan my lunch! If I’m still here in 5 years, just assume I’m dead and they forgot to take me out with the trash.

Career Aspirations
Career aspirations? Please! The last time I aspired to something, I ended up sleeping under my desk! Look, I don’t want your job, okay? I don’t want any job! If I could get paid for eating a sandwich and watching TV, that’d be my dream career!

Skills to Develop
Skills? I’m already a master of looking busy while doing nothing. What more do you want from me? Fine, if I have to “develop skills,” how about I get better at coming up with excuses for being late? Or maybe I’ll perfect my technique for sneaking naps in the supply closet!

Goals and Objectives
My goal is simple: survive each day without getting fired. My objective? To find the perfect ratio of minimal effort to maximum paycheck. And if everyone could just leave me alone while I’m achieving these lofty goals, that’d be great!

In conclusion, this whole “Personal Development Plan” thing is a crock! It’s like that time I pretended to be a marine biologist. Sure, it sounds impressive, but in the end, you’re just gonna end up with a whale of a problem!

Remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it. So here’s my belief: I’m perfect just the way I am. No development needed!


It’s an interesting exercise to take a typically formal document and reimagine it through various comedic lenses. Each character persona brings a unique perspective to the concept of personal development, and in the process, highlights the often absurd nature of corporate practices.

Perhaps there’s a better way to build strong, trusting relationships?

BTW, Jay said he’d pick one from the above options, and submit it verbatim. I double-dog dared him to follow through. Stay tuned…

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