New Year Goals Should Land Your Next Job #goalsetting to forward #careers

Think Clouds With Affirmative Statements
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With every new year is another opportunity to restart your career.   How can you turn new goals for your current job into a solid track to your next promotion?

One of the most important January business planning activities is often overlooked.   Rested from a holiday break, we get back to work full of energy and ready to tear through our To-Do list, particularly if we have year end projects to finish.  Let’s step back and ask some questions about those activities.

  • Is the planned activity list going to help my company deliver better products or services?
  • Do I have any activities planned that will help me grow professionally?
  • What work will help me get promoted?

Creating a strategic plan in January for tactical activities for the entire year will benefit your employer and you personally. I suggest writing out five possible goals to share with your manager, seeking their input and approval.

Create Five Goals

Goals One, Two and Three – These goals should be structured to benefit your company.   How can you set a goal that will improve sales, productivity or overall profit?  Even at an entry level position, your activities should show a direct line contribution to profit for your corporation, or to improvement of services to your customers or constituents.  Putting the company first indicates to your supervisor that you understand and are inspired by the company mission.

Goal Four – Your next goal should be structured around personal improvement or professional development.   Although we arrive at the workplace with past experience or have received on-the-job training, there is always something more you can learn.  Perhaps you may look into a certification program that you can add to your resume.  Or maybe it is time to broaden your ability to contribute with a horizontal move into another practice area to expand your knowledge base.

Goal Five – The last goal should be written to show your desire to take on additional responsibilities.  Read through the job descriptions of the job you want.  What skill set is needed for this position?  How can you demonstrate that you have the knowledge or leadership skills to meet the challenges and responsibilities in this role.

Congratulations – you are ready to start a new year, and great opportunities lie ahead!  Get after it!

About Joyce Jarek: Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1®Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  She enjoys mentoring her own team, and coaching new graduates who are entering the workforce and starting their first real job after college. To purchase First Job, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html 

Coming Soon – Last Three Best Workdays of the Year, Improve #cubiclelife #worklife , #Career and #productivity

December 2014 Calendar highlighting last three days
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Happy Holidays to all of my readers! Congratulations – you made it through the work year and accomplished your goals.  Given how Christmas and Hanukah fall on the 2014 calendar, it is tempting to extend winter break from now until January 5th. However, opportunity and award awaits those who save their paid time off for the months ahead and trek down to the office.

Let’s look at the top five productivity metrics for the last three workdays of the year:

  1. Less traffic lightens the commute. If you typically leave at 7:30am and return home at 6:00, this 10.5 hour day can likely shrink to 9.5 hour day with a 10% gain in your personal life.
  2. Few or No Meetings – do you celebrate when a meeting ends 15 minutes early because you just gained back 3% of your workday? Your calendar will be refreshingly clear and calm – offering more time to organize, clean up your work area and clear your head for the new year.
  3. Your employer will likely gift you with an opportunity to leave early on New Years Eve.  You can get paid for 100% of the workday with 75% of the effort.
  4. Reduce your unread or unanswered emails by 100%. Create a folder in Outlook named “Respond Soon” and add any issues to Task lists that can’t be resolved because your coworkers are out.  You can address them after January 5th.
  5. If you receive 100 emails a day, and 25% are daily email subscriptions, you can cut out 9,125 clicks in 2015 by taking an extra moment to unsubscribe from email notifications. Removal of these unhelpful distractions will allow you to concentrate on what matters going forward.

If these three performance-enhancing days can improve your overall well-being, then fill the new coffee mug up with a jolt of caffeine, pack a light lunch (not a bad time to start that diet), and immerse yourself into the serenity of your quiet work world.

Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1, Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates. To purchase, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

#Career Thanksgiving Therapy for #postgradlife & #cubiclelife dwellers

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Having Black Friday off without having to take a personal day is one of the many things in corporate life that I am grateful for. Please “Like” this post and raise your thumb if you need a four day weekend – RIGHT NOW!

First Job book Jacket in red and green

Get ready, Launch, Gain Momentum, Pull Ahead

In my book First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates, I dedicated a section on keeping fresh at work.  In the self-help world, many will refer to this as work-life balance.  Many of us with competing priorities are frantically trying to live up to this standard and believing that it must be possible since so many refer to it.

Truth exposed – there rarely is harmonized balance between work life and personal life.  At any given point, work will win, family will win, or you will win!  And something will lose.  Thanksgiving weekend is when work loses.  The six million people that will board planes, trains and automobiles today are fleeing quickly, while “work”  awaits Monday in darkness, cold and stillness.  Don’t you feel better already with that imagery in mind?  Relax – you aren’t getting any farther behind and no one is  getting ahead of you this weekend since everyone is gone!

You can’t do everything well all at once.  This weekend is Thanksgiving Therapy for you and your family, but work or school must be prioritized next week.  You will need  to think about wrapping up year-end goals and hit it hard for the next two weeks before holiday joy sets in again.  Your personal life may lose for awhile.  Work isn’t a coast to the year end finish line – there will be a slight up hill climb to December 31, so give it a little thought today as you depart – commit to the sprint over the next two weeks before you begin to coast.

Here are some ways to make work lose this holiday weekend.

Wednesday – quiet catch up with your closest family members whom you haven’t seen for awhile.  Take someone aside for a coffee or a beer, be sincere, be loving, be real about what you are dealing with and anxious to learn about them.

Thursday – on this meat-filled holiday, absorb yourself into family and friends, and veg out on the couch.  After cooking and cleaning up – try doing nothing.

Friday – SHOP!   Give in to the madness!  But buy at least one thing that will center you as you sprint the next two weeks.  Some new tunes, a new coffee mug, a tablet?  Work is still losing – but there is just a hint of focus coming on.

Saturday – plan today something fun and different for Saturday.  What is the one thing you will talk about Monday over the cubicle wall when your coworker asks the ritualistic Monday Question – “What did you do this weekend?”

Sunday – Safe travels everyone, get home early, get quiet, get ready.

I wish you a blessed and safe holiday weekend and for the workforce who doesn’t receive time off because you are needed to make the world hum and buzz – I am thankful for you!

Joyce Jarek is the author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  Pick up a copy as an early holiday gift for you through the link www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

Q4 Rising – Are you ready for year end?

red and brown box with letter Q and number 4 with word rising
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Over the summer I challenged you to keep your motivation up while you were living out your summer.   As we head out to vacation often we check out for a while on work goals for the year. I encouraged you to ramp up work activity for the second half of the summer through Labor Day. Breaking news – we are only three weeks away from the beginning of fourth quarter, and three months away from year-end close.   So it may be time to put down the stats on your fantasy football team and pick up the goal sheet you made at the beginning of the year.

I suspect you are doing really well in some areas and may be behind in others. Don’t despair – it is just time to break it down and figure out what areas you need to concentrate on.

Here is a goals scorecard that can help you. Take a little time to evaluate how you are doing.

Goal 1 Not Started Let’s Talk!! In Progress Complete
 
 
 
 

Not Started – so what happens if you haven’t started on something yet? First things first – you need to ask yourself why. Have other goals been taking more time than originally planned to achieve? Or are you just not sure how to get started? Either way – I suggest asking for help. Talk to your supervisor to get a boost with this one.

Let’s talk – these goals have been started but are in serious jeopardy.   Why is this being derailed? Are you working hard on a project but the results are not what you expected? Are you working in a team and the team isn’t working well? Once again – it is time to reach out. But before you do – some soul searching may be needed here. I believe you may already know why this goal isn’t working out. Is it a few simple actions that will right this goal? If so – take them this week. If it is more complicated then you need to admit that you are struggling. Reach out to your team members and your supervisor with honesty and sincerity.   Together you may be able to get these goals back on track.

In Progress – congratulations, it sounds like you are on your way.   A couple of things to note. How can you make sure that this goal crosses the finishes line? Outline the three or four actions that will help to wrap things up. Create a Gantt chart to keep this on track. Remember, not much happens the last two weeks of the year. Your goal chart should end on December 15.

Complete – again congratulations are in order. It must feel good to have accomplished these goals. Check with your supervisor and review its progress! You may be surprised, there may be a few things you need to polish!

Good luck with the rest of the year! Write to me and let me know how it is going!

Summer is slipping by…are you keeping up with your work?

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IMG_1415During the summer it is difficult to stay motivated. After Memorial Day, coworkers with families begin to disappear. Both parents ands kids are anxious to escape the routine of school and all of their extra curricular activiites. From June to midJuly, work productivity can slow way down. New employees, who may not have yet accumulated significant vacation time are left behind. The buzz in the office slows down and motivation to keep up the pace disappears. Summer feels like a good time to slip out early and enjoy friends, family and fun. So what’s the worry?

The summer teaser can turn into trauma if you find yourself way behind on meeting goals for the year when up north, the leaves start to fall.  From September to December, the year feels unbelievably short. Hard to count December as a full work month since many people are out once again enjoying the holidays. It becomes a short work month. Projects and deliveries are hard to accomplish after Halloween because frankly, you just run out of time to properly wrap things up.

The best thing to do is to recognize the potential for a work slow down midyear with a little extra effort in the Spring. But if you find yourself after the baseball All-Star break concerned about how the year is passing you by – from a work perspective, it is time to begin climbing out of the hole now, instead of waiting till Labor Day. Think of your summer as a valley. If activity at work declines from Memorial Day to Independence Day, then through each week in July and August, increase your productivity by 10-15% through Labor Day, so you can be at your best during early Fall. You won’t be cheating your summer fun, but you will start climbing back into the full swing of things and be positioned to hit your targets for year end goals.