Making Career Resolutions that Actually Stick

Merry Christmas!

While chances are that you’re reading this on some day other than December 25 (the day this went live) and you’re no doubt now thinking of which gifts to return, why not also take some time in preparation for the New Year to think about what career resolutions you plan to make… and how you plan to keep them in 2019.

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Take a look below for some tips on how to keep your career resolutions this year.

  • If you’re looking for a new position, 2019 is probably one of the best times to do so. Yes, even better than it has been this year.

This resolution should be easy to keep: the economy next year is expected to continue to grow and the fantastic candidate market (if you’re a job candidate) or war for talent (if you need to hire someone) is projected to continue.

In fact, the unemployment rate nationwide is expected to fall in 2019 from 3.7 percent (2018’s rate) to 3.5 percent. (One caveat, however: the economy may slow a bit in the second half 2019 as a result of the current trade war and other factors.)

Still, if you’re unhappy at work, now is the time to put your toe in the job-hunt water: recruiters are eager (some might say, desperate) to help you.

  • Explore careers that might interest you. As in REALLY explore.

It’s one thing to say you want to change careers. It’s another to actually start researching different possibilities because doing so probably will take you out of your comfort zone.

You don’t want to move to a different career just because you “think” you’ll like it. Instead, you need to “try it out” as much as possible before making any change.

How can you do so? At minimum you should read as much about it as you can. Your second (easy-ish) step is to find people who work in the field now and talk to them. Talk to at least three and ask them what they love/hate about it, how they got the work they do in the career and ask what you should do to learn more about it.

If at all possible, try to work in the career yourself. See if you can get a part-time job within the field. Or freelance. Do this for at least three months so that you can be sure you actually like the profession/work.

  • Get those skills you’ve been promising yourself you’ll get.

Hard skills are in great demand today, especially in technology and healthcare. So desperate are Southern California employers for people with these skills that the state’s community colleges offer dozens of two-year (or shorter) degree and/or certificate programs that will help residents learn new job skills. Getting trained in some in-demand-positions (such as “middle skill” healthcare positions) may not take nearly as long as you think and could raise your salary, possibly considerably.

If you’re not up to two years or several months of education, consider taking short certificate programs, either online or off. Don’t forget to ask your supervisor about being reimbursed for short training programs you find online (although many online professional development courses are free).

If you’re thinking of finding a new job (or a new career), consider registering with Helpmates. We have many part-time and even direct-hire and temp-to-hire opportunities waiting for you; one of them could well have your name written upon it. If you see one that interests you, follow the posting’s instructions or contact us.

Happy New Year! And here’s to a wonderful 2019 for you and your loved ones!

Embracing the Up, Backwards and Sideways Career

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No one’s career moves straight up. Most successful people see their share of failure and even simple treading water (no movement up or down). Just a few examples of people who failed on their way up:

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  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
  • The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts rejected Steven Spielberg several times.
  • The first book Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) wrote was rejected by 27 publishers.

Yet putting aside these famous folks’ failures, all of us should know: especially today, careers almost never move ever upward and/or always in a straight line. There will be detours, failures, false starts and mistakes.

And understanding this is a very good thing. After all, think about the possibilities:

  • Embracing the fact that a non-linear career path means you won’t be blinded – and trapped by – the idea that you must always move up. This hyper focus on an ever-upward trajectory can blind you to the many other opportunities for growth that taking a different path can give you.
  • Failing at something means you get to build your resilience muscles: dusting yourself off and standing back up proves to yourself that a) you can stand back up, b) that it gets easier each time and c) you’ve undoubtedly learned a ton because of the failure. In other words, you’ll know at a deep personal level that the old saying is true: those who experience and then overcome difficulty are stronger and better for it!
  • If you you’re willing to take risks, knowing that failure often is the absolute best teacher available when it comes to life and careers can transform the risky move easier to make.
  • You may find that you actually enjoy a different industry more than the one on which you had your sights set.
  • Embracing a squiggly career trajectory (up, down and sideways) means you’ll let yourself do the things that interest you, thus helping you learn what you don’t want to do. This can be as important as learning what you do want to do.
  • What’s more, you’ll understand that you don’t always need to continue doing something when it’s not working. For example, if you find that the career you just knew would make you happy doesn’t actually do so, you can unashamedly look into a new path.
  • You may actually find that promotions, higher pay and more responsibility aren’t the be-all and end-all for you. You may find that your definition of success instead entails spending more time with family and friends rather and/or creating art and/or volunteering for a cause in which you believe than working 60+ hours a week for the glamour (and almost certain stress) of being a person of importance in your field of work. (Or you may find the opposite: you discover that you want to be the boss!)

Just remember, careers today rarely move up and up and up. Embrace the failures. Look for opportunities to move sideways. Consider jobs you never have before.

And think about registering with a staffing agency such as Helpmates. Why? Because if you’re at all interested in exploring different career paths or industries, working for a firm such as ours allows you to “try on” different industries and positions without committing to any. Then, if you do find a position or industry you enjoy, there’s a good chance it can become permanent: more than one-third of people working on assignment received an offer of regular employment with the staffing company’s client.

To learn more about the many career-exploring opportunities we offer, contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you.

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