You deserve to be happy in your career

Written by Caroline Dowd-Higgins. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on January 18, 2012 with No Comments

As the New Year begins, the campaign for resolutions is everywhere. From losing weight to starting an exercise regimen or smoking cessation, there are a myriad of promises the media is enticing you to keep. That’s enough to make anyone feel stressed!

You know the drill – most resolutions fail after a few weeks because people don’t enact the necessary lifestyle changes to make them permanent. Just like a fad diet – if you don’t adopt healthy eating as a way of life – it’s really hard to lose weight permanently.

So I’m letting you off the hook for New Year career resolutions and I give you permission to take small and purposeful steps towards a career that will bring you happiness and fulfillment playing to your strengths. All I want you to keep in mind is that you deserve to be happy in your career and you alone are in control of your career destiny. You don’t have to let your career happen by default and you should relish the fact that you can always change your mind and start something new. Thriving in a career should not be a resolution but a given for all and I give you permission to own this concept and make it happen in a way that works for you.

In the spirit of new beginnings, sans the pressure of a full-blown resolution – here are some tips to consider as you design your career destiny and really consider what you want professionally in 2012.

Be Self Aware. Take some quiet time to reflect upon what you value, what interests you, how your personality plays a role in your career, and inventory your competencies and strengths. Whether you want a new career beginning or a slight makeover in your current role, you owe it to yourself to really consider what makes you tick and what motivates you. Identifying your career passion starts with baby steps since you need to know what you really want before you go looking for it.

Say it Out Loud. It takes courage to speak your hopes, dreams, and goals out loud. Start by sharing these ideas with your circle of trust, and then share with others in your larger community. By saying it out loud your goals become real and often people come forward to help you on your journey. I have seen this happen time and time again and make it a practice to share my goals with others.  Announce it to the universe and you just may be surprised about what comes back to help you achieve your goals.

Write it Down. Research shows that we are more likely to act on our goals if we write them down. Carry a journal or use the notes feature on your smart phone since inspiration can strike when you least expect it. Write down your vision and consider adding images or photos that further illustrate your goals. You can always change the plan but the journal or vision board process is a creative way to explore the possibilities of your career journey.

Develop Your Story. Once you have clarity about what you want you need to act as your own best self advocate. Develop a story that you can share with others about what you do well and what kinds of opportunities appeal to you. Try not to focus on job titles but think about skill sets and experiences that distinguish you. Others in your network may have unique ideas about how you can put your skills to work and your career development story will empower them to help you more effectively.

Expand Your Community. Even in 2012, the hidden job market represents over 80% of opportunities that will never be posted. Get out from behind your computer and meet people. Create a personal business card and be willing to talk to people you already know and expand your network to grow beyond your comfort zone.

Don’t Put the Resume Cart before the Networking Horse. Many job seekers spend most of their time polishing and peddling their resume and not enough time building professional relationships. The resume is a very important tool and you should have one that reflects your strengths and employability but if you spend all of your time applying for jobs you are missing out on a lot. Pursue job shadows and informational interviews (no matter what your experience level) since this gets you in front of people in-the-know in your industry. Most jobs posted online get thousands of hits for every position. You can distinguish yourself from the competition by being seen in-person and not just via your resume.

Tap Your Resource Team. Assemble your own personal Board of Directors for support, accountability, and career wisdom & expertise. If you empower others to help you they will – and if you are a selfless networker willing to pay-it-forward this will take you far. Good career karma goes a long way so consider how you can help others as you seek their counsel. Remember to steward and thank the people on your Board and in your network. A hand-written thank you note still goes a very long way!

Reward Yourself for Small Accomplishments. The career journey is long and arduous so reward yourself for the small steps you take to move forward. Pat yourself on the back and be proud of every little move towards the end goal. You deserve it!

Be Healthy and Resilient. One of the top transferable skills employers seek is resilience. In this economy lay-offs have been rampant but showing your future boss that you are unsinkable and ready for a new challenge is a marketable quality and an inspiration to others. The job market is stressful enough so be good to your body and eat well and get the amount of sleep you need to be at your best. Exercise never hurts either and can help relieve stress and promote the relaxation your mind needs to function well.

It all starts with acknowledging that you deserve to be fulfilled in your career. Think of your job quest or career reinvention as a life journey and not a quick fix resolution. Say what you want out loud, share it with others, and write it down to confirm your convictions but always know that you have the power to change your mind. By taking control of your career destiny you will never let it happen by default and you can be more in control of your happiness. That’s an exciting and feasible concept for everyone this New Year!

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About Caroline Dowd-Higgins

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" (now in the 2ndedition) and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Vice President of Career Coaching and Employer Connections for the Ivy Tech Community Collegesystem and contributes to Huffington PostThrive GlobalEllevate Network,Mediumand The Chronicle newspaper in Indiana.Her online show:Thrive!about career & life empowerment for women is on YouTube. Caroline hosts the award winning podcast, Your Working Lifeon iTunesand SoundCloud. Follow her on FacebookLinkedIn,Google+,and Twitter.

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