Lose weight. Eat healthier. Exercise more frequently. Drink more water. Drink less alcohol.
Some things appear on New Year’s resolutions year after year because they are rarely a bad idea, regardless of your situation at the end or beginning of the year. One such resolution that often gets overlooked – but shouldn’t be – is the resolution: Improve my career.
Resolving to change jobs is not an uncommon resolution for people who find themselves unhappy in their current position or who hear ambition calling for more. However, improving your career does not require that you pursue or even consider switching companies. That’s a resolution everyone should consider playing on their list. Long term success in your career requires constant attention so why not add caring for your career to your list of new year’s resolutions.
Revisit your career objectives
People are motivated and satisfied by many different things depending on their tastes, stage in life, family situation, location and many other factors. However, the people who are most satisfied are those who achieve balance between their personal wants, family needs and professional ambitions – whatever those may be. Achieving sustained satisfaction requires sustaining that balance even as personal wants, family needs and professional ambitions naturally evolve.
The change in calendar presents a great opportunity to revisit your career objectives and ensure that you have a clear understanding of these three topics. Build and prioritize this list because it is a valuable tool in both assessing the need for change and pursuing the right changes when change is justified.
Think about your network
Your success does not only depend on you, your qualifications, and your actions. Many other people will be involved in your success. Who you know is regularly as important for success as what you know. However, relationships do not happen by accident nor do they stay meaningful without investment of time and effort.
At points throughout all our careers, we benefit from the support of others. The best way to have support when you need it is to have supported others in the past. Likewise, knowing the “right” people is most likely to happen when you have made an intentional effort to develop specific those relationships, not left your networking to serendipity.
Add to your New Year’s resolution activities a strategic review of your network including planning activities that will strengthen your connection to people relevant to your career with an emphasis in finding ways to help them irrespective of their immediate ability to help you. Think not only about those in your professional circles, but also those in your personal circles as the two can often overlap in unanticipated ways as relationships grow stronger.
Test your current situation
Because your objectives are constantly changing, it is natural but not inevitable to see your objectives and your job diverge as both evolve over time. In many situations, that divergence happens slowly and quietly going unnoticed well past the point where it would make sense for the person to begin considering moving positions. Even when significant events such as marriage of birth of children drive changes in priorities, the match or mismatch of the job may take time to be obvious and a mismatch could be overlooked well past when it should be obvious.
Therefore, make assessing your current situation in the context of your revised, current objectives part of your New Year’s ritual. Challenge yourself to confirm that your current job is still a good place to be and if you cannot prove that to yourself, consider adding job searching to your to-do list.
You can get a quick idea of your current career health by reviewing the list of statements below. If you agree with most of the statements, you are likely in a good, healthy situation, but if you disagree strongly with many of the statements, you may need to intervene in your career:
- I find fulfillment in the work that I do today
- I enjoy and respect the people I work with
- I enjoy the work that I do
- I find purpose in the work that I do
- I am proud to tell others what I do
- I live a comfortable lifestyle
- If I had more income, I would not significantly alter my lifestyle
- My family speaks favorably of the work I do
- My skillset is thoroughly utilized
- I regularly utilize the skills I most enjoy using
- I easily imagine myself doing what I am doing now for many more years
- I am on a path to accomplish the goals that I have for myself
- I have good balance in my life
- I am not jealous of the success of my friends and/or family
- Others would describe me as successful
- I am developing current skills and/or growing new skills in the workplace
- I am developing current skills and/or growing new skills outside of the workplace
- Most days, I wake up excited about the day
- I feel well-connected to my family and the people I care about
- What I am doing today prepares me for interesting opportunities in the future