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

Can I Shop on #CyberMonday during #Worklife ? Advice about #jobs & #IT policies

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With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, most of us will be picking up coffee on the way into work Monday morning with five days of work in front of us.   However, the Monday after Thanksgiving can also have a “holiday-feel” as retailers hype up Cyber Monday – supposedly THE DAY to shop online.  If you are tempted to browse in between meetings, have you considered whether it is OK to shop online at work?

Every workplace has different norms and policies.  What is your company’s IT policy?  Using company hardware or the web  interface for personal use is often strictly prohibited, or at best, it can only be used for a limited time during the day.  Most companies will have the capability to monitor every email, every website visited, and all documents created and stored on your computer.  One time I called the help desk and the service representative asked me if I owned a Harley (which I do). He had tracked the websites I visited where I was looking for new shocks for the bike. Cyber attacks are on the rise and the company has every right to protect their equipment, their information and intellectual property.  Company security is everyone’s responsibility – not just the IT department, and your mobile device, tablet or laptop may become a gateway for hackers.

In addition to the cyber security issues, we need to be mindful of keeping up our productivity as the holiday season kicks off.  What do you need to accomplish before the work year ends?  Most work place activity slows down to a crawl during the last two weeks of December, so this is your time to kick it in high gear and wrap up some projects.

I suggest making your Cyber Monday wish list tonight, and hitting the GO button when you get home.  The good news about Cyber Monday is that it lasts until 11:59 p.m.  I wish you a great start to the holidays, and if you decide to shop online on Cyber Monday, here is a quick link to get you started!  www.cybermonday.com

 

 

#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

Escaping Confinement – Tales of #Cubicle Life #Postgradlife

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Recently I have joined the community of readers on Twitter and Instagram who read and post about the routine of their new life after college.   This group of young professionals face the new reality of being cubicle dwellers – spending almost one-third of their lives at work surrounded by four fake walls.  I remember these days – it felt a lot like being a freshman in a dorm – the lack of privacy minus the fun.  Many of you are faced with mundane and entry level tasks for hours on end and are experiencing a new boredom and tiredness from the routine of having to go into the office – every day, every week- no breaks.

I encourage you to get up and walk around with purpose. Create a mission each day to learn something new by networking with someone in a different department, ask to be included in a task force or committee where you will work on a special project, or as one follower commented in #postgradlife, live on the edge and go to the bathroom on a different floor.  Walk by and observe what is on bulletin boards and say hello to someone new.

The best way to stay motivated is to have multiple short-term projects along with your daily or monthly work. If 50 to 80% of your job repeats on a routine basis, then you should break up the routine with other assignments that only last 2 to 3 months. Part of managing yourself is being able to manage up. If your boss doesn’t prepare assignments in this manner take it upon yourself to ask him for some project work. This will ensure that you’re constantly learning something new or have an opportunity to build a skill set in a new area. When you spend so much time in one place, over 40 hours a week, you should enjoy it, or work will become boring and depressing.

For more tips on how to stay fresh, pick up my ebook First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  Here is a link to Amazon, Ingram and B&N.  www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

Staying Employed is Key to Avoid Living with Parents

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A 2014 Gallup survey indicated that 14 percent of all kids graduating from college are living with parents. They continue to rely on their parents for support, even if they find immediate employment post-graduation. With Fall commencement nearing, many parents may find their graduate back in their old bedroom.

Who suffers financially? Mostly the parents who are surprised to find their kids returning home after college graduation because they either can’t find a job or have a job with wages so low that they can’t afford to live on their own while paying down college debt. About 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Boomers had hopes to stash away more money in those last few crunch years before retirement but instead must use their extra income to support their children who by now should be financially independent.

Faced with this growing reality, a 2014 article in Fortune magazine discussed how parents are helping their kids network and find a job, and are struggling to determine how far is too far in assisting their graduate.

We don’t magically change once receiving a degree, but hopefully have developed technical competency and communication skills before entering the workforce.

However, the emphasis in college was likely on technical skills development, but many young adults arrive at their first job post degree with a lack of communication and social skills. Colleges include courses on presentation and writing skills in their curriculum, however, training usually stops there, and today’s new employees are left to navigate day-to-day coworker interactions by drawing upon their short brush with socially-accepted work behavior from an internship. Understanding the soft skills can be key to long-term employment.

What kind of support should we ask for from our anxious parents? Ask your parents to share some of their early career experiences but stand on your own by staying employed.

I recently released my first book “First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.” You will find my personal experiences told through four fictional characters that find themselves in tricky business situations and provides advice on how to prevent them or respond responsibly.

First Job can be read in less than two hours but can impact a new professional during the first two years of work, which is often the most critical for maintaining employment.

For tips on navigating work life and advancing a business career,  visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html to purchase First Job.

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!