As I write this month’s editorial, snow is gently falling for the first time this season. It is a reminder that the holidays are approaching, and a new year is just around the corner. How was 2008 for you, and what will you do with 2009?

A recent Money magazine column was a reminder that it is important for each of us to be responsible for our career development. The article quotes an outplacement firm reminding everyone in the 10- to 15-year stretch before traditional retirement age that they could be let go at any time. They suggest that you devote the equivalent of 10% of your work time to activities outside your current job that will help you to find the next one. Some of the suggestions are to join an industry trade group, attend conferences, connect with colleagues inside as well as outside your firm and get your profile posted on professional networking sites like LinkedIn.

Industrial Heating continues to provide and sponsor opportunities for you to grow professionally in the thermal-processing industry. The recently held FNA 2008 was a great way to make professional connections, and we hope you found it to be a valuable use of your time. Our website provides opportunities for you to connect with experts and others in the field. IH’s Experts Speak “blog” allows you to comment on these topics and ask questions of our industry experts. Our little-utilized bulletin board is also available for the use of industry professionals to speak their mind and ask questions of others. In order for it to be a useful professional tool for you, however, you need to check in often and respond to threads where you can have valuable input or answer or ask a question.

You also owe it to yourself to stay informed on industry news and the latest in technology. Once again, Industrial Heating – through the pages of the magazine as well as e-mailed and online content – keeps you educated. Involvement in trade groups such as MTI and IHEA can connect you with others who are likeminded in important areas that might enhance your job security as well. The Government Relations Committee of IHEA is one such group for me. Among other things, we have been wrestling with the concept of how carbon trading is likely to be executed, and we are trying to make it clear that existing technology doesn’t support an 80% reduction in CO2. We should be encouraging a reduction in carbon intensity, not an absolute reduction.

As you reflect on your career and the things you can do in 2009 to enhance it, you might also look at how you can leave this world a better place for having been a part of it. While this could involve something career-related, it might also compel you to become involved in something more selfless. Volunteer organizations – faith-based or otherwise – offer the opportunity to help others who have very basic needs. As we have opportunity in 2009, I would like to put the spotlight on some of you in our industry who are working for the good of the community – local or global. If someone like that comes to mind, please e-mail me at reed@industrialheating.com to share the story.

One of my personal missions on this page is to encourage you to watch out for government intrusion in our lives. Regardless of who was elected president last month, I continue to encourage you to be vigilant. One area of opportunity is in the area of global warming. Both candidates for the office of President this year not only believe in global warming, they believe that humans are the primary cause of it. Unfortunately, this blind devotion to what can only be described as a secular faith-based “religion” has taken much-needed relief funds from the truly needy to allocate them to fight global warming. Groups like Mercy Corps, who have historically utilized their resources to come to the aid of disaster victims, have begun to allocate some of their time and resources to fight global warming. As you consider who to help with your time and your resources, be certain that they are good stewards of what is entrusted to them.

As you reflect on the past 12 months and the year ahead this holiday season, enjoy your family, count your blessings and take the opportunity to step away from the busyness of the day-to-day. Consider what you are now doing and what you can do in 2009 to make this world a better place because you are a part of it. IH