It’s that time of year. The traditional time of reflecting and planning for our professional lives is upon us.
It’s actually the worst time to be doing any remembering, preparing or thinking about your career.
Why? Well, if you’re like me, you’re exhausted. You’re cramming to get all the stuff you said you’d do LAST December done. You’re in holiday mode—and not the relaxing, enjoying mode—the “Oh crap, what am I going to get my father-in-law?” mode! And finally, it’s expected. It’s when everyone else is thinking about making a job change. You don’t want to lump yourself into that crowd.
If you’re about to bail because I promised you “Kick-Ass Career Advice” in my title, don’t give up on me yet. This is what you should be doing now in order to set yourself up for a new or renewed career in 2016:
Clean your desk/computer. I’m serious. If you have stacks of paper, business cards, half-read books and sticky notes stained with coffee confronting you every day, it erodes focus. Or if your computer is loaded with junk and disorganized, it’s reducing your effectiveness. To do well in your current job, which could lead to a promotion or a new job, you must have the ability to concentrate and be productive. A messy work area also makes you look like a slob. No one wants to promote a slob.
Network like crazy. All those holiday parties, open-houses, coffee invitations coming your way—take them! You should also be asking people to meet-up. People are more likely to accept your invitations right now. And when they do, make the most of the time. Do the personal catch-up or intro and then ease into a conversation about what you’d like to be doing career-wise. Have a mental list of how each person can help you. Then be sure to ask how you can help—and follow-up on your offer.
Show gratitude. Your company isn’t going to promote you—your manager is. Take this time to show that person gratitude. Thank him/her for helping to develop you, for some impactful advice or for just having your back. Be sincere in your thanks and make it personal. It’s not about a gift, but rather a conversation or note that explains why you appreciate working with that person.
Relax. It’s been a hectic year. You’ve probably worked long hours and still have stuff to do. Put it off. Some of my best career revelations have come after a good sleep or while running. If exercise isn’t a stress reliever for you, pick up a trash mag and let your brain relax. Do whatever you need to do to ease any fear or stress you have about your job. Once your mind is clear, how you need to approach your professional life will become clearer, as well.
Now is not the time to be vocal about looking for a new job or asking for a promotion in 2016. Be more thoughtful in your approach and timing. Get to work on the advice above—I’ve seen it be successful.
Perhaps this wasn’t the traditional career advice you may have expected; but that’s OK with me. Oh… and I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions either so head’s up on that future post!