Spring is here! There is nothing more renewing in the spring than cleaning out the closets and putting away the heavy coats and sweaters that held us down during the colder days. Just as Springtime beckons us to unburden ourselves with things that no longer serve us in the warmer months we must also lighten things up in our careers. Quite frankly when it comes to our careers we need to put some of the things away forever and throw away the key.
Every good organizer will tell you to create three piles, one to toss/trash, donate, and keep. Let’s approach our career spring clean in the same manner.
1. The idea that your career will progress in a linear fashion.
You career will most likely take a zig-zag pattern. You may feel like you are doing an obstacle course but each event will lead you to exactly where you belong. Don’t fret if you are not doing exactly what you went to college for or your dream job. Be patient and learn everything you can at the place you are right now. I promise you, you are growing where you are planted and every experience will help you in the long run.
2. The need for recognition and pats on the back from your boss or teammates.
Learn to give yourself kudos and deliver good work without any expectation of accolades. Only then will you truly feel free at work. If you make recognition a component of your sense of self-worth at work, you will be disappointed on a weekly basis because in most work situations you will not receive the recognition you crave.
3. The expectation that you will get a job simply by applying to job openings.
Oh, no! It’s a 50-50 chance you’ll get a job through job boards alone. If you want to get that job you need to spend time networking at events sponsored by the company you want to work for, read up on the company, join groups on LinkedIn, tap into networks and set up time with people in your circle to learn about how to get into their company. Join professional-focused meet-up groups – they are chock full of beneficial networking opportunities. It’s a full-time job looking for a job and you have to be prepared to do all of the extra legwork required to get a seat at the table.
1. Time for mentoring and volunteering to a good cause.
I can’t tell you how much you will benefit from helping others. It helps alleviate the stress you feel at your current job when you know you are helping someone else.
2. Time for your family and friends.
We get so caught up at work sometimes that we forget to call our aging parents or are too tired to read that bedtime story. Give time to your loved ones. No one on their deathbed wondered if they worked hard enough. The question will be, did I care enough for the people I love so dearly? Put it on your calendar like any other meeting to call your mother, your spouse in the middle of the day. Make sure you keep connected with your loved ones during the weekdays. They shouldn’t be put in the corner and pulled out just on the weekends.
3. Time for your hobby.
If you love yoga, photography, or visiting museums. Carve out time to do so. Doing so helps your career. Change of scenery and focus on creative, leisurely activities will connect you to deeper yourself which is so important when the drudgery of the 9-5 or of running your own business wears you down.
1. Reading books/blogs/articles on your industry and interests.
What you learned in college isn’t really knowledge. The real education begins after college. To get a leg up at work you have to be a critical thinker and self-aware. To that end, you must read a wide range of books to become worldly and thoughtful. Keep reading and never ever stop. If you do, you will die figuratively and will become stagnant.
2. Your confidence.
No matter what you are going through at work, never ever let them see you sweat. Keep focused and confident. Project confidence at all times and never let it go even when you’re being hung to dry.
3. Your passion and purpose.
If your day job and your passion aren’t aligned, don’t fret. Keep your job until you are fully ready to make that leap. Your day job may pay the bills but your passion will allow you to truly live. Don’t beat yourself up for being in a dead-end job. Make the most of it and instead, beat yourself up if you are not taking daily steps to live your passion and purpose. Map out what you want to do, start today and do a bit every day to make it a reality. Keep your passion in sight and never let it go.