Just like trending hashtags, things are moving very quickly in the world of work these days.
And, if there’s one thing that Covid has taught us, it’s that we can take nothing for granted. So…
…How up to date are you?
…How well is your career progressing?
…How satisfied are you with your work and workplace?
It’s more than time to switch from negativity to new, positive emotions about work. Use the eclectic mix of big picture items and practical suggestions below as a starting point to enhance your work happiness and success.
Tip #1: Consider micro-credentials
Tip #2: Meet new people
As part of Marc’s career change, I suggested that he expand his network so that when he was ready to make the move, he had some connections in that space.
Many people find the whole networking concept daunting and worry that they will appear ruthlessly self-interested. The easiest way is to start with fellow work mates. Pick up the phone and ask someone in a different department for a 20 minute meeting. You will increase your knowledge about other parts of the business and you may well pick up allies who prove valuable in the future.
Then, extend this approach to people outside of the organisation. When you attend a training session or a conference, make a point of chatting to strangers. Initially, it feels slightly awkward but it does get easier.
Plan ahead and have a few relevant points of discussion in mind. Offer something of value to the other person and have an opinion. Stay up to date with local and international current affairs. At a minimum, talk about the event itself. The idea is to get the conversation flowing and leave room for future meetups and discussions.
Tip#3: Take a new broom to your job
Many people dread the New Year return to work because they’re bored.
If that’s you, pull out your job description. Rate each key responsibility for both satisfaction and for importance.
Then carefully assess each task with a bad satisfaction score. Perhaps some of the less important jobs no longer need to be done. Of course, eliminating core but unpleasant tasks is a much harder ball game and you will need to get your boss on board with a persuasive business case and a pathway.
If there are too many items on the Dark Side, it’s time for serious action. Plan your escape from the job to a different role either internally or external to the business.
Tip #4: Meet with your boss to clarify aims for the year
Set up a formal meeting with clear agenda items but use a coffee shop as a venue to add a touch of warmth and informality. Refer to appropriate business documents such as the Strategic Plan, your PD or key department milestones.
This can serve two purposes. It sends a strong message to your boss that her needs are important to you. It ensures that you spend your energy and intellect on activities that meet her agenda and (presumably) those of the organisation. And, if there has been any disconnect between you, it helps to re-establish a professional relationship.
Tip #5: Gird your Loins
At a recent session, ‘Hue’ had a bad cold and confessed that he just did not feel like taking charge of his job search. Nothing new there – very few clients tell me that they actually want to tackle the Hidden Job Market (i.e. searching for those roles that are never advertised.)
What did surprise me was that Hue went on to comment that, in the past, he generally hunted out his own jobs, even going so far as doing the dreaded Cold Call. Hue had a strong belief that he had value in the market place and that someone would recognise his ability and offer him a good job. So, he was not afraid to take the lead to identify such people and then approach them.
Hue was interested in learning about ‘proper’ Job Search Networking so we covered off on all the details.
Lo and behold, the next time I saw Hue, he reported back on a string of strategic, well conducted Job Search Networking meetings. He found his next job through a contact made at his previous workplace. And, the location was much closer to home, which was part of his aim.
Hue had both confidence and bravery – an irresistible combination.
Tip #6: Turn the Table on Employers
One of the most vexed questions that all job hunters face is, ’What are my new employers actually like?’
Back in the days when I was an employee, I was always scared about leaving my current job, even though I am generally a bit of a risk taker. I dreaded the getting-to-know-you stage, from mundane concerns like, ‘How does this wretched photocopier actually work’ to more worrying issues such as ‘That person just gave me the brush-off. Is it me or just him?’
As part of my career work, I get to hear quite a lot about the various organisations in my city, Adelaide, but I find that very few of my clients have any insight into their prospective employer. Up until now, this information has been difficult to access and they faced all the risks associated with jumping into the great unknown.
Now, savvy job candidates realise they have more power in the Job Search equation. There are excellent websites which give insight into the employer’s culture, their compensation and pay, and where you can learn about benefits and company policies.
The most famous is Glasshouse and its name really says it all. If you’re vetting a large organisation, you’ll find feedback about it from current and former employees – right from the horse’s mouth. For smaller Australian organisations, Seek.com.au works pretty well.
Failing those organisations, get onto LinkedIn. Find contacts at the organisation or find contacts who have contacts there. Make a few calls and you’ll end up with an informed decision about that new job.
Tip #7: Understand that Coding is the new Orange
The jury is still out about how to protect yourself against AI, as an employee. Even, the so-called experts are at a loss. One piece of advice, however, is compelling.
Programming is becoming a fundamental skill. A hundred years ago, we may have asked ‘Is it important to learn how to write?’
Experts are saying that most future jobs will have a coding component to it. So, if you are under 40 years of age, learn coding. If you’re over 50, cross your fingers and hope you make it through to retirement. Or, if you’re over 50 and really want to sleep at night, learn coding. And, if you are a parent, encourage your kids to enrol in a coding club straight away.
When six year old children are learning to code, you know it’s time to jump on board.
Tip #8: Talk to your bosses about options
New is Hard
I’ve been learning Italian seriously now for quite a while. Sometimes, I tear my hair out at the seemingly arbitrary rules. And I really do struggle to memorise the vocabulary.
I persist because the adventure of experimenting in another language is a fascinating challenge for me. In common terms, the upside is worth the downside.
When it comes to your career, it would be ideal if you relished keeping up with new trends. Regardless, it must be done. Take charge of your future so that you have a future.
Find a place where your thoughts are likely to roam freely – evocative music, great coffee and a lovely outlook. List the top three changes…
- to the world of work (e.g. changes in language and behaviour that are now the norm or the impact of AI on job tasks)
- in your workplace (e.g. a drive for cost reduction or emphasis on innovation)
- in your personal life (e.g. children about to enter a more expensive phase of life)
Just last week, a very astute client recounted significant changes in all the above areas. She had a clear plan with concrete timelines. It can be done. Plot out the response that you need/wish to make to cope with these changes.
Lose that heavy career weight you’re carrying around
Already this year, I’ve had new clients who want to work through big career decisions.
Whatever you do, don’t let your career changes fall by the wayside, like so many of our New Year resolutions to get fit or lose weight.
Choose the three most relevant items from the tips above. Find a support person to help you identify concrete actions with timelines and KPIs attached.
Then as per Nike, just do it!
And this time, my signature hashtag is 100% apt…
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