“Get me out of here!” the ear splitting scream of my four year old grandson sounded through the planetarium auditorium as the lights went out.  Who would have guessed that this brave little soul who regularly faced down the dinosaurs in the museum next door would be less than thrilled with the pitch darkness of the planetarium. 

Of course, “get me out of here” is what we would all like to scream at times but none more so than when we’re stuck in an unfulfilling job.  The job itself is probably not to blame.  We have probably outgrown it or find that some aspect of the work or organisation is no longer a good fit for us.  Somehow at this time of year we can be particularly prone to feeling these frustrations as the tempo builds up towards the southern hemisphere big shutdown.  So should we ignore them? Take our annual break and hope that we will come back sufficiently refreshed to reignite our passion? Or should we take note of the signals and use some of our time over the next weeks to delve deeper?

Of course my multiple choice answer is C.  Work is such a big part of our lives.  If we work full time then during our lifetime, we will spend at least 55,000 hours earning a living.  That’s a big chunk of time so we owe it to ourselves to manage our careers and not just drift along.  Following are x steps you can take over the end of year period to managing your career more effectively.

Step One Get Your Mojo Back.  This will surprise you.  At first glance it seems to have very little to do with your career but the more depleted and frustrated you are, the more you need to do this otherwise you can’t think clearly about your way forward. (Tara Mohr, 2010).  Tara recommends three activities to get you in the creative space you need to be to think positively about your career:

  • Take time out at least twice a week to do the things that help you switch off – for me that’s going to gym, reading and pursuing my creative hobby.
  • Clean up your diet, exercise and get more sleep
  • Do little things every day that bring you joy and pay attention – don’t sleep walk through them or get distracted.  My big little thing is taking my dogs walking and really enjoying them, not seeing it as a chore to get through

Step Two  Dream time.  Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years’ time? This requires a little more time investment.  First to get yourself into a relaxed frame of mind and then to let your mind wander and dream “What kind of job do I want?” “What would be fulfilling for me?” “How much do I want to earn to support the lifestyle I want?”

And in this dream time don’t get side tracked by your inner Grinch, “well of course you can’t do ….” “how do you think you’re going to get there?” “you don’t have the (fill in the blank) qualifications/ connections/ courage/ experience and so on and so on”.  Ignore it all.  This is not plan time.  This is dream time.  

After you’ve taken this step let it simmer.  See what comes up into your mind over the next week or so.

They say that visualising without action is just a fantasy.  That’s true but leaping to step three without steps one and two will not give you a good outcome.  

Step Three Action!In step three you start to look at the traditional career change tasks: identify your transferable skills, look at your development gaps, polish your CV, sort out your LinkedIn profile and revitalise your networks. 

Step Four The Devil You Know or the One You’ve Yet to Meet.  From all the work you’ve done so far, you should have a pretty good idea whether you are really ready for a change and whether that will be inside your current organisation or looking outside.  If you are in a large organisation it’s very likely that there is opportunity within the organisation that you can track down.

Step Five The Plan.  Now we are getting to the plan. You may have uncovered development gaps that you need to address or realise that you need to spend more time on creating internal and external networks.  Whatever you need to put in place, make a plan and give time to it.  

So now is a good time to start reviewing your own career growth plan well before the end of the year.  Spacing out the steps makes for a better result and even if you are currently happy in your work, taking a five year view may uncover some activities you need to put in place.  

If you need help with any part of your plan or some one on one support, you can find us at CareerConversations:

Pam Moore                  082 444 0375