Mind-Freshening Approaches to Your Career

Fortune magazine’s Anne Fisher has been consulting with career experts to get suggestions on how to use the new year to freshen up your attitude about your work and your career goals. Here’s her list, plus our comments:

  1. Join, and be active in, an association. We don’t need to review why networking is important. Maybe now is the time to devote an hour to researching professional groups that might be useful to you.
  2. Use all your talents. For example, says Fisher, even if writing isn’t part of your job, go ahead and write articles and blog posts if you are actually a good writer.
  3. List 20 professional successes of 2009. This might be a sort-of rolling list that could easy be blended into the "achievements" section of your resume.
  4. Keep repositioning the "golden ring." Things such as, say, a recession should force you to reexamine what you can realistically hope to achieve over any given time frame.
  5. Shift your attention from the expedient to the important. Fisher quotes an expert who says, "A real career disabler is choosing to focus first on the things you can get off your plate first, regardless of their importance." Ah, yes, can we all resolve not to procrastinate?
  6. Have a conversation with your manager about your job, your career goals, and where he or she sees you headed in the future. No one likes to do this, mainly because it¿s an open invitation to criticism, but the new year is a good time to give it a try. Like you, your boss is reflecting on the year gone by and the year to come, so he or she is probably in a frame of mind that will make the conversation easier.
  7. Let go of the old and embrace the new. Or, to put it another way, shove your baggage into the closet and avoid the Debbie Downers around you who complain that things used to be better and the future looks grim.

— Don Willmott