As you stepped freshly into the new year, you may have made some new resolutions or set some new goals for yourself. You may be on your way to creating some new health habits, some changes to your living situation, etc. And why not use the new year to look at the work aspect of your life? Whether you have a part-time job or put in more than forty hours a week for your work, the time you spend at work is a significant amount of time and plays an important role in your happiness. As I often say to clients, “If your work isn’t contributing to your happiness, why are you doing it?” Whether your needs are about income, the schedule, the commute or the true enjoyment you get from your work, etc., it’s important to know that your career is helping you create the life that you want. The new year is a perfect time to look at what steps you may want to take to make this year your best career year yet!
What changes at work, if any, would you like to make in the coming year? Consider using the following steps to help you answer that question for yourself.
Step 1: Clarify your career priorities. What’s most important about your work at this time in your life? As mentioned above, your answers to this might include such things as income, experience, proximity from home, etc. Rank your priorities in terms of what is most important to you at this time. Then, on a scale of 1 to 10, rate to what extent your work is addressing these priorities. With your priorities ordered and measured, you can be clear about why you are at your job and bring your best to it, or make plans to pursue other work options.
Step 2: Evaluate your sense of work/life balance. Are you feeling good about the amount of time work takes up in your life? If your answer isn’t a clear yes, you may want to weigh the priorities you outlined above against any tradeoffs you are making. Sometimes simply getting clear about your priorities is all you need to determine whether or not you are making the trade-offs of time and energy that are right for you.
Step 3: Take a fresh look at your attitude. What attitude supports your success and happiness at work? Noticing if your attitude has slid into a negative place such as frustration, anger or disrespect, is a great first step to shutting off the energy drain of negative emotion. Remember that your attitude is the fuel behind your thoughts that will support your perspective and creativity, or drag your energy down. If it’s one particular person that you struggle with, consider how you may be playing a part in contributing to the frustrating scenario. Your part may not be the part you want to look at, but it is the one you have the most control over.
Step 4: Be clear about what you want. What would more satisfaction look like? Maybe it would be a sense of recognition for your efforts? Perhaps you would like more enjoyment? What is your ideal work picture that would reflect a true sense of contribution?
Step 5: Refresh your career goals. Considering what you want, what career goals would you like to accomplish in the next year? A new level of certification or new level of responsibility? Maybe a better relationship with your manager? (See step 3.) Maybe you would like to have hired new staff members, or have delegated an aspect of your responsibility? What achievements or accomplishments over the next year would make you smile or add a bounce to your step? List your goals and prioritize them.
Completing these steps will help you bring new energy and clarity to your work and support you in managing your career from a place of power. With your priorities in order, the work/life balance that’s right for you, a fresh attitude, clarity and new goals, how can you miss? Here’s to making this year your best career year yet.