Why wait for the new year to make bold changes in your work and life? Customarily, we coast from about Thanksgiving Day to the beginning of the new year. This time period is spent on family, friends, taking a trip, buying gifts and taking some time off from work.
It’s reasonable to take a much-needed break. The last nearly two years have been wild—which may be an understatement. The pandemic brought on fast and furious changes. The wealthy became amazingly rich. Meme stocks, NFTs, cryptocurrencies and the stock market were on fire. Rage quitting became all the rage.
In real life and on social media, we argue and fight about politics, mask mandates and vaccinations. Trillions of dollars have been injected into the economy, which some say kept businesses alive and others experts contend it will cause massive inflation. You’ve been isolated, working at home, and worried about holding onto your job. Millions of Americans lost their jobs. The swiftness of change can make you feel dizzy and disoriented. It’s easy to feel lost and adrift.
Usually, due to custom, we wait until the new year to make changes to our lives. Since we are in a new type of world where everything seems possible, why not start on improving your work life right now? View today as the start of the new year and work life. It’s your chance to get ahead of the crowd, as most people put off their job searches during the holiday season and resume it again in the first few weeks of the new year.
Seeing loved ones get sick with the virus and hundreds of thousands die from the disease takes a mental toll on us. It’s heartbreaking and depressing. Many people get stuck in the cycle of sadness. Others shrug it off and trudge through the day.
There are many folks who have started to deeply contemplate their work and lives. They’ve accepted the fact that life is short and could end at any time. With this existential overhang, positive, forward-looking people have used this to fuel meaningful changes. Workers have resigned from jobs they hate. They’ve pivoted to opportunities that offer them fulfillment and a sense of purpose. Entrepreneurship has boomed, as people have taken the risk to control their fate. We’ve seen this with the young, YOLO day traders, betting big, hoping to radically change their lives by earning a quick fortune.
By next month, we’ll all get caught up in the holiday season and push aside career goals and searching for a new job. I’d humbly suggest doing the exact opposite. Start hyperfocusing on your job and career right now. Don’t put it off because everyone else does. As others sit on the sidelines, it’s your chance to stand out when applying for opportunities.
Start by figuring out what you want to do for the next three or so years. Assess your skills, talents, academic background, credentials, prior jobs and responsibilities. Think of the types of roles you are appropriate for and go after them.
Reach out to recruiters who specialize in your field, career coaches, résumé writers and your network to get the ball rolling. You want to ascertain what the job market is like in your field, what’s required for the roles you desire, compensation levels and future growth potential. You may be excited about a new job in a different sector, but find out that it doesn’t pay well enough to make the leap.
You may want a do-over by leaving one career to start a new one. It’s an ambitious goal, but possible to achieve. It may take time, as companies often want plug-and-play hires who can start working and contributing on day one. It’s also tough to leave a safe position for the unknown. There will be a loss of identity when you are in transition.
Start putting aside money now. If the job pivot or reinvention takes time, you won’t have to sacrifice your goals for your lack of funds to pay the bills.
Put together a plan of what you will do everyday to reach your goals. For instance, one day, you can search for jobs online and send out résumés, and another is allocated toward networking with college alumni, former co-workers and friends. By having a structured system in place, it will help you succeed in reaching your goals.
Although the media makes it seem easy and cool to quit along with the “Great Resignation” trend, try to hold onto your job while you map out the next move. It will be a challenge to juggle your current role and pursuing a new job, but you’ll have a safety net.
You may dream of opening a business, going back to school to study for a new career or taking several steps backward to have a big upside in a new industry. Be honest with yourself. Do you have the stomach for the risk you are undertaking? Be prepared for the stress that accompanies the unknown.
Do some homework and research into the new type of job or career. Seek out people who are in the positions you want to be in and ask how they like it. It’s a bold move to make this reach out, but you have to be brave and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Ask around and search online to see if the new type of job will pay enough to warrant the change, and that there is solid growth potential.
Give yourself time. Some people are lucky and find themselves in the right place at the right time. Start with the premise that this won’t be you. Lately, interviewing seems to last forever. You’ll be subjected to at least three to 10 interviews over the course of several months. Ghosting, lack of feedback and rude treatment is commonplace. If you get frustrated, remember it’s not just you. This is happening to everyone else too.
In addition to Covid-related changes, pre-pandemic, we’ve seen the emergence of artificial intelligence, new technologies, robotics, relocating jobs to lower cost cities and countries around the world. In the world we are in now, it makes sense to constantly keep your eyes open for new opportunities and be prepared to regularly reinvent yourself or pivot to a new job or career.