by Martin Yate | http://workawesome.com
We all have dreams and make resolutions for a more fulfilling life. Yet we fail achieving the dream with a solid plan of attack. Dream too long and you’ll look back on a life’s path scattered with the tombstones of lost opportunities. Try something new, and 2012 can be the year you change the trajectory of your entire life; all you have to do is wake up and smell the coffee, and then start walking towards it.
Job security is a thing of the past, but you can regain control of your life by replacing blind loyalty to faithless employers with a commitment to your own long-term economic survival. Make this the year you commit to understanding and applying the new career managementstrategies that will put security and fulfillment back in your life. It’s just a question of making time in an already hectic life.
Steal Time for Achieving the Dream
The average American gets home from work, watches five hours of TV (25% of it commercials), and goes to bed, not always in that order. Give up just one thirty-minute TV sitcom four nights a week and I’ll show you how to revolutionize your life. Steal just two hours a week and invest it in learning how to make your life better.
It starts with understanding that no one cares about your survival except you, and doing something about this situation: Learn what it takes to get back to work; protect the job you have; get a better job, get a promotion; plan and execute job or career changes. Simultaneously you can begin to think about your entrepreneurial dreams. These are the issues of modern career management that you ignore at your peril.
A Successful Career Is Not a Sprint; It’s a Marathon
When you think about achieving lifetime plans, think in terms of calendars not clocks. Most people sacrifice a life of fulfillment to the whims of instant gratification because a life of fulfillment requires hard work. It’s time to start living up to your dreams, not your income.
Whatever your goals, the sooner you start towards them the better. Begin with evaluating where you are now and where you want to be ten years down the road. “I want to be president of the company” and “I want to be president of my own company,” aren’t mutually exclusive: This is not an either/or world anymore. You can pursue multiple career goals and multiple career paths: climbing the corporate ladder, building a successful business, making your living in the arts. There are proven paths to make multiple career goals come true. Others do it every year, so why not you?
Given your goals, all you need is a plan of attack that steadily takes you from where you stand today to where you want to stand tomorrow. Just what will you have to do to get from here to there? You then break those big steps down into smaller and smaller steps, until there is some small action you can take today, and every day, that will bring you one step closer to realizing the goals that give your life meaning. You can build plans and the stepping stones for the achievement in your corporate career and in your entrepreneurial and dream careers.
For Your Core Corporate Career
Become the best you can be, to secure the job you have today and to land the job you want tomorrow. Simultaneously, commit to learning the employment skills you need to survive: How to write a resume, how to turn a job interview into a job offer, and the handful of other critical job search and career management skills that you must master to survive.
For Your Entrepreneurial Career…
Recognize that because paths running parallel to your core professional career take time, you must start walking towards them now. Study for that license, develop the skills that help small business owners succeed. Whatever puts the juice back in your life, start doing it.
Give up one sitcom a week on the TV to change the trajectory of your life. Don’t become a couch potato and watch life whizz by on the TV screen. Make the commitment to take control of your destiny by learning how to survive and navigate the twists and turns of an increasingly volatile professional life. Give yourself to achieving the dream that brings you joy, and the strategies that will ensure your economic survival. It can be done and you can do it.
Do you know why your job exists or what ensures your employability? Strip away all the window dressing and at its core, your job exists for one simple reason: to identify, prevent, and solve problems within an area of responsibility, in order to help the company make money, save money, or otherwise improve productivity.
Try to see yourself and your work in this light: You are a problem solver with a particular area of expertise. This will lead you to engage in your work with new priorities:
- Anticipate, identify, and reduce the incidence of the problems that occur within my area of responsibility
- Solve the problems and challenges that still occur within my areas of responsibility in an efficient, professional, timely and good-natured manner
- Execute my duties in ways that show respect for the responsibility of others, who in turn must deal with the product of my work
- Learn something from every problem I tackle that will help me improve personal productivity by anticipating preventable problems, and reducing the impact of the unpreventable ones, thus boosting my employability
Unfortunately, technological developments constantly change the skills you need to do your work. If you are not consistently developing new skills, you are being paid for abilities that are rapidly becoming obsolete, a situation that can cost you not only this job but your ability to find another.
There are many ways to protect your job and boost your employability, but first steps should always involve self-analysis and a talk with your boss. There isn’t a boss in the world who doesn’t appreciate a staffer asking for guidance about ways to improve skills and performance. Implement the advice you receive, and follow-up informally every 6-8 weeks to communicate both your progress and your commitment. Informal, but consistent, follow-up keeps you on the radar of those who matter.
In every department and company there is an inner circle and an outer circle, and these are the ways you make it into the inner circle: that place where plum assignments, raises, promotions, and job security all live.
How to Protect Your Job
Your resume is the most financially important document you will ever own because it opens the doors of professional employability for you. It’s the vehicle you use to package all the skills we talked about in the first part of this article; it’s the tool that will convince someone to give you enough money to pay the mortgage on a regular basis.
When your resume works, you work; when it doesn’t, you don’t. If you are looking for a promotion, you will actually use two variations of your resume:
- A resume that helps get you that next great opportunity
- A resume that helps you compete for promotions once settled in the job
It’s a mistake to think that new jobs are the way you get promotions. Almost always, a candidate is hired for the skills, experience, and track record he brings to a particular job. In other words, you get hired for your credentials, not your potential. Promotions are more likely to go to someone who has proven herself on staff and is a known commodity; otherwise the company goes outside for someone with . . . the credentials doing that job.
Be Prepared for Unexpected Change with One Killer Tool
You might be working today, but the situation could change without notice. Show me a job hunter with a stalled job search and I can almost certainly show you a flawed resume. Your resume opens the doors of opportunity and sets the stage for the interviews and the job offer that gets you that next job. Learn why some resumes work and others don’t.
Develop the skills to judge and fix a troubled resume, or consider having a professional create one for you. Again, it’s the most financially important document you will ever own, you need to treat its creation and maintenance with the appropriate respect.