You’re not alone. For many people, the start of the new year leads them to seriously reassessing their career trajectory. It makes sense - people have worked incredibly hard all year with the pressure intensifying even more as they wind up for the holidays. They can see the finish line, they limp over it and then they collapse.
With a lot of businesses closing down over the Christmas and New Year period, people have a lot more time to think and reflect on their careers over the break. After all, you can’t be filling every minute with something exciting that takes your mind away from reality - at some point, you’re forced to sit with yourself and think.
If there is one pattern in my line of work that I see often, it’s that Christmas and the start of the new year tends to bring out the worst in people from a career perspective. I tend to hear, “I hate my job” or “I want a new job” or something similar, more than throughout the year. Far too often, this overwhelming sense of unhappiness and discontent leads people to making a hasty decision, and inevitably calling it quits with their current position and taking the first job offer that comes their way.
My advice? Stop! Do nothing. For the moment, anyway…
Now is the perfect opportunity to take some time out, deep dive into your skills and to assess what you really enjoy doing and what you don’t want to do from a work sense. Consider what you feel is the perfect cultural fit for you in terms of the workplace. Do you enjoy a casual vibe where you can work from home or do you do your best work in a professional setting where you’re expected to be at your desk for a certain period of time?
Grab your trusty pen and paper and jot down what your wish list looks like for the year and beyond in terms of your career. For most people, it will look something like this:
- Work less hours
- Get a new job
- Ask for a promotion
- Ask for a pay rise
All of the above are realistic goals to aspire you to achieve, but with anything in life, your approach and how you action the necessary steps, will dictate the likelihood of your success. When thinking of what you really love to do, think of the skills that these tasks involve and how they can transition over to a new job role or a different career direction. Workplaces are changing at a rapid rate; faster than ever before. You need to ensure your skills are relevant for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Think where you’d like to be two jobs ahead of where you are now - ask yourself what you need to do to get there. From there, set your career goals and be patient…very few things worth doing are accomplished overnight.
Instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle at the start of a new year, do your research and reflect on what you truly want. Be wary of who you reach to for advice, because while those around you are likely to have your best interests at heart, they’re not always the most qualified and informed people to reach out to in relation to career advice.
You don’t have to go through this process alone. If you feel stuck or if you’re looking for some guidance from an expert, find a Strategic Career Partner who is the right fit for you and can lead you towards assessing everything you need to do for a long and prosperous career.
Remember, you’re the only one responsible for your career, so take charge now and move forward motivated and with a clear direction of where you are now and where you’d like to be in 3, 5 or 10 years’ time.
By Deborah Wilson