19th Dec 2019
It may be tempting to forget about work during the festive holidays but Jenny Darmody explains why that might be not such a good idea for your career
During the festive season, most of us would be only delighted to mentally lock away all work-related thoughts in a safe and bask in several consecutive days of nothing but family, friends and festive treats.
However, there are two issues with that. First of all, not everyone has the luxury of time off work during the Christmas season and secondly, for those that do, time away from your desk might be the perfect opportunity to gain a little perspective and think about your career and what you want it to look like in 2020.
So, what should you do?
Reflect on your year
Self-reflection is a great tool when it comes to setting goals and when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, you’re more likely to succeed when they are based around specific goals. So, now that you’re away from the busyness of your desk and getting everything squared off, take the time to think about what you’ve achieved this year in your career.
Consider what your year looked like as a whole. Did you move jobs or get a promotion? Did you complete a major project? Have you gotten to work with more departments or been given more responsibilities? Or was it a case of being able to hand over the reins more so that you had time to commit to other projects? Success is different for everyone so when you take the time to reflect on your year, think about it in terms of what makes you happy and what success looks like to you.
Make a list (check it twice)
Once you’ve taken the time to really reflect on your year, write down what made you happy, what you would like to do more of, what you didn’t like and what you would like to eradicate from your career.
Don’t worry too much about what’s realistic or what’s part of your role right now. It’s Christmas, and this is essentially a wish list. It’s the festive season so we’re not in the business of making you work hard and figure out your whole year yet. We just want you to think about what you really want in a perfect world. A little less from column A? A little more of column B? You get the picture. And yes, you have to check it twice. Make sure you’re not leaving anything out and don’t be afraid to write down the things you really want to try your hand at but don’t have the experience in yet.
Engage in some light research
Now that you have your wish list, you probably have some gaps that you need filling, whether that be through a course or an extra-curricular activity. Now, we know Christmas is a time for pyjamas, chocolate and Netflix binges but if you’re anything like us, you might feel your brain turn a little mushy and there’s nothing wrong with a light stimulant to keep it active.
Again, we’re not saying you have to map out a whole career development plan for yourself during your much-needed time off, but casually Googling what you could do in the new year to achieve a little more career happiness is no harm. Don’t worry, you can stay in your pyjamas, keep eating the chocolate and have Netflix on in the background.
Prepare some career resolutions
With 2020 practically seconds away, you might be one of those people scrambling to think of some solid New Year’s resolutions and what better time to make some of those resolutions career-focused? Don’t worry, you don’t have to think too big. It doesn’t have to be about finding a new job or getting a promotion in the next 12 months (unless that’s on your radar, in which case, go for it).
Your resolutions can be small and can relate back to your magical wish list. They can also be simple, positive habits such as making sure you get out into the fresh air during your lunchbreak if you’re usually chained to the desk or making more homemade lunches for yourself.
Be kind to yourself
Reflecting on the previous year isn’t just a way of making that magical wish list for the year ahead. It’s also about taking the time to be proud of your achievements this year, both big and small. When we’re constantly in the throws of work we don’t often have time to think about how we’ve done professionally. The year end – when your mind is taking a break from the desk and you’re surrounded by Christmas comforts – is the perfect time to do this.
Not only should you be proud of yourself for the year that’s ending, but you should be kind to yourself about your plans for the year ahead. People often panic about making promises to themselves that are too aspirational to be achievable or too small to matter, but the truth is you can always think in both big and small terms. Dream big, but also know that every small positive change is a step in the right direction.
Jenny Darmody is the growth editor at RECRUITERS.ie, Ireland’s most trusted recruitment partner. Jenny is also a former journalist, specialising in all things career-related and work-life balance.
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