It can be difficult to focus this time of year.
Between the holiday get-togethers, family engagements, shopping, wrapping, baking, and all the other events that we enjoy, there isn’t a lot of time carved out to focus on our careers. In fact, thinking about your career is likely the last thing to have on your mind.
You likely spent 40+ hours per week at your job – so the idea of spending any more time away from friends, family, and/or your solitude is not appealing. You may be so sick and tired of work, all you want to do this holiday season is relax – and you should. Doing career related homework over the holidays…well that seems absurd doesn’t it?
If what you do now is something you love, then yes, the idea of working on your career over the holidays may be absurd to you. If, however, you do not enjoy the work you do 40+ hours per week, then perhaps there is no better time to reflect on your job, than when you have a few days away from it to gain some much needed perspective.
There is a big difference between wishing for a great job to fall in your lap and taking the necessary steps to choose and pursue a career path. Many of us are so busy completing the tasks associated with our jobs that we often take for granted the steps necessary in pursuing our next great career adventure. Said differently, we assume others within our organization will recognize our contributions and reward us. Sadly, that is not always the case. In today’s world of work, it is in your best interest to control your career and the direction it will take.
Conduct your due diligence.
We may all, from time to time, think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. There are some truly amazing jobs that will fit you to a ‘T’, and others that leave you wanting more, or worse, drain everything you have within you. Before you take any steps to leave your current job, consider your options and conduct your research.
Identify 10 companies where you would prefer to work.
Research these companies to determine whether they have more to offer than your current job (More does not just refer to compensation. Consider colleagues, climate, opportunities, environment, work/life balance, autonomy etc.)
Compare and contrast how the company’s values match your own.
Look for an exit.
When you’re not enjoying the work you’re doing, you’re constantly looking for a way out. It’s like driving slowly down a highway. You read every sign along the way, questioning whether or not you might take that exit, or wait for the next. The road signs all start to look the same. When you enjoy the work you do, it’s like driving in the express lane en route to your travel destination. You travel quickly feeling confident you are getting to where you need to be in the most direct way possible.
While it may seem counterintuitive to spend your vacation time thinking about your career, it may be the greatest gift you give yourself and your family this year. Think about it. When might be a better time to focus on your career?
Related Categories: Career Clarity
About The Author
Maureen McCann is an award-winning career coach, master resume writer, and master certified interview, employment, and career strategist whose clients include C-level executives, managers, and professionals in all industries including the Canadian banking, oil and gas, healthcare, IT, and government sectors.