People often put more time and energy into landing the job than they do in remaining engaged, productive, satisfied and happy once they have the job. With a bit of planning and focus, you can enrich the job you have by focusing on the positives. To succeed in your current job and to position yourself for future opportunities you need to stay positive and focused, and make networking and learning part of your normal routine. With a little practice and discipline it is entirely possible.
Stay Positive and Focused
Every job has peaks and valleys but if you only focus on the valleys, you miss all the peaks.
- Avoid being sucked into the negative talk at the office. Some people just have to have something to complain about and will always find a new grievance to air to anyone who will listen. Don’t fuel their fire. Don’t have more contact with them than absolutely necessary.
- Focus on your goals. What do you need to be successful in this position? What do you need to do to advance? Make sure you do something every day to help you move closer to your goals.
- Do your job. Deliver on-time accurate results. Meet or exceed expectations. Build a reputation as someone to turn to in a pinch. Be willing to take on an extra project or assignment. Demonstrate your ability as well as your “can do” attitude. Maybe that extra assignment is a perfect trial for additional responsibilities.
- Choose to be happy. Stay positive and find the good in people and situations. You spend too many hours at work to be miserable.
- Do a monthly review of what you accomplished in the last month, what your plans are for the coming month and assess the progress you are making toward your longer-term goals. Even just a few minutes of reflection each month can help keep you focused and moving in the right direction. Don’t wait until a year has passed to realize you need some slight adjustments to the plan.
Even while you are successfully employed, networking it critical to your professional development and learning. Maintain the network you have and continue to build your professional network. Successful networking does not require large blocks of time, a few strategic minutes here and there makes a difference.
- Network within the company – learn what other departments do and how that influences your work, learn what skills enable people to advance in their careers, be interested and interesting, meet someone for coffee or schedule a lunch. Set goals to keep yourself focused on networking
- Leverage Linked In – keep your profile up to date, seek recommendations, post updates, review your skills list, use Linked In to find former managers to stay in touch for future references, find former colleagues and reconnect, identify alumni connections in key companies of interest, keep expanding your network. Learn more about Targeted Networking through LinkedIn.
- Networking beyond your current employer – participate in relevant professional association meetings and conferences, learn best practices from others, build your network in companies of interest, identify people you can learn from
- Mentor – identify a professional mentor, gain insight from someone who will tell you the truth and help you learn and grow in your career. Consider mentoring someone junior in your field.
- Give Back – host informational interviews with people more junior in their careers who wish to learn from your experience, you may learn something too while you are helping them
- Set goals and hold yourself accountable so networking doesn’t fall to the bottom of your growing to do list
You need to be continuously learning to grow professionally. Be creative in identifying different ways to accomplish that.
- Internal Training – identify relevant internal training sessions, build your technical skills, managerial skills, learn something new, work with your manager to identify relevant training and make it a priority
- Professional Organizations – identify at least one relevant professional organization, attend meetings, meet other members, volunteer to work on a committee, get involved, your learn something from those you work with in these groups. Learn about using volunteer experience to enhance your resume.
- Professional Conferences – if budget allows, take advantage of these opportunities, learn from the sessions but also from other attendees, if budget doesn’t allow, review the presentations online after the conference, follow up with relevant presenters
- Take on New Projects – volunteer to work on a project or with a team that forces you outside your comfort zone, force yourself to learn something new, let your manager know the type of skills you seek to hone and look to identify a project assignment which is relevant, consider a cross functional project to expose you to other parts of the organization
- Read – stay current on relevant industry and business periodicals, read while waiting for meetings or while commuting if you take public transportation, always have something relevant to read in case you have unexpected downtown, make it a habit to review the key publications on a regular basis, be well-informed