Everyone struggles with finding enough time to work on their career, especially when they already have a job. But that doesn’t stop us from doing a few activities when we can. Just walk around the office and watch people. You’ll see some looking for jobs while others may be building their networks on LinkedIn or Facebook. We just can’t seem to stop thinking about our situation and how desperately we need to improve it. So, each day, we make small attempts to create new opportunities for ourselves.
The problem is that this process takes a long time, and after a while, the daily miniscule progress will begin to weigh heavily on our motivation and reduce our job satisfaction. The good news is that there is a way to break this monotony. The answer is….a single career day. Have you ever taken one day out of your busy schedule to dedicate to promoting your career goals? I’ve done this for years and it’s a great way to recharge your enthusiasm for your career. You just simply take a day away from work and focus on activities that further your goals. One day of intense focus on your career goals can do more than 3 months of those miniscule activities you do during the normal work day.
Here are some of the things you can do during your CAREER DAY.
Training/Seminars. This should be done in-person, as it also provides the benefit of networking and interacting with new people. This training doesn’t have to be on the skills you use at work. It can be something totally foreign to you, but it does need to be something that you have a passion for. Ideally, the training is something that gets you engaged in an activity. Most professionals will target activities like interview training, personal branding classes, leadership development, etc. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to these normal activities. I had a client who always wanted to be a singer. So I suggested she take a voice lesson to see how good she really was, or at least get an opinion from a voice coach. You see, most of us have dreams that are different than what we do in our day job, yet we never really evaluate the alternative path we really want to take. That’s madness. Determine your passion and find a way to spend a day evaluating that potential path. It could save you a lot of time or it might just give you that nudge you need to pursue that dream full time.
Networking events. Sure this one sounds a little lame but I really enjoy events. If you’ve ever wanted to hone your skills in introducing yourself, selling yourself or showing off your expertise, events are chock full of people you can practice on. You can walk into the event with the mindset that it really doesn’t matter if your techniques don’t work perfectly. You’re experimenting to learn how to influence people. In fact, I usually take a notebook and capture notes on how people respond to my methods. The fun part is that it’s an event for learning so there’s no pressure to perform at any particular level.
Mentors. Some professionals use mentors. The more successful ones use many mentors and take time to visit them. Taking a day to connect with people who can give you advice on how to proceed with your career is extremely helpful. Mentors don’t have to be in your organization. It’s often useful to have mentors who are familiar with your company but not in it. They can provide a unique perspective on the workings of the organization. One of my clients would establish mentorships with high level professionals from outside companies that had influence on his company. These included vendors, customers and partner companies.
Planning. Some years ago, we developed a team-based approach to career development. It is a very detailed method for building your own career support team that helps each other identify and achieve their own goals. It’s called the Blitz Approach and was published in 2008 in our book, Blitz The Ladder. The Blitz team members get together ever so often to discuss their plans and figure out how to implement them. These meetings are very motivational as you realize that you have a team of people dedicated to helping you become a success and….you identify some actions for you to work on. Your career needs constant nurturing in a society that seems to revel in change. You have to put a lot of intentional effort and energy into your dreams.
Most professionals feel they have talent; that is, special skills that warrant a higher level of success than they have obtained. The problem is that they think someone will see their amazing abilities and give them that opportunity they’ve been waiting for. Strangely enough, people will sit in the same job or company for years waiting. A successful career isn’t for the weak hearted. Those who wait get a job for the rest of their life. For those who want a successful, exciting and rewarding career, well, that path requires some serious effort over a long period of time. And, long periods of time require lots of motivation. Of course, you have to take all of this one day at a time. So, make sure you take a day to really focus on your dream. Do something that totally encompasses that dream. Enjoy it. Revel in it. It will make you want to take more career days for yourself.