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End Of Year: Time to Reassess Your Career

Ok, you know that December is a great time to examine your career goals and to decide what you want to be doing with your work life, right? No? You’re not entirely convinced?

If you’re not certain that year’s end is a terrific time to search job listings AND perhaps even consider switching career gears, it may be because, with its attendant festivities, it strikes you as a time when the regular office agenda gets shuffled to the side.

Fair enough. However, take another look as we list a few reasons that year end is a good time to either look for a job, or to decide anew what you want to be doing with your life.

  1. There are less people looking. Yep, it’s true. Everyone (erroneously) assumes that there won’t be much decision-making as the holidays approach. Additionally, many job seekers put their efforts on hold while they surrender to the gift-buying and merry-making.  Yet this is a marvelous time to look, with less competition and a great selection.
  2. At year’s end the fourth quarter is coming to a close (Quarter four = October, November and December). These divisions of time are often used to measure a company’s performance over the past 12 months. Businesses also prepare annual reports, based on the four quarters of a fiscal year. And quarterly reports are put together around this time by publicly traded companies, to keep investors informed.

With such a close look at the bottom line, and depending on the financial picture, administrators and executive directors may start thinking about clearing out the deck. As a result, new positions may open up.

  1. Unbeknownst to many job seekers (or HR newbies), many employees choose to leave their jobs at this time.  As these departures are wholly unexpected (and unprepared for), all existent hiring freezes or bans are lifted, and companies embark on a hiring spree. So don’t be surprised if, during your routine “Just calling to see if your office needs any help” calls, you are quickly summoned to the head honcho’s office of a few firms for an impromptu interview.

This is one reason that follow-up calls are a good idea. Another reason: You would have built a rapport with the gatekeeper, who would now be the first to know if workers are being sought.

  1. Many employees take serious stock of the past year. Why don’t you?  Ask yourself: what were my expectations? Did I accomplish my goals?  Don’t wait until New Year’s to make a list of what you’d like to achieve.  The early bird gets the worm.
  2. There’s a change in the air. If you’ve had your eye on a job that, up until now, was not available, take advantage.  Move in with a bit more confidence.  Ask questions.  Recruiters and hiring managers know all about their clients’ and employers’ having to meet deadlines and sales quotas. Your contacts might be more amenable to answering questions – and to helping you decide what the next step in your career might be!
  3. Companies have more spendable cash at year’s end. Makes sense, doesn’t it? They’ve been working with a streamlined budget from January through November; keeping excess expenditures at bay…and they’ve done such a great job that they’ve amassed a little bit of excess money which has rolled over from previous months!

Now all that remains is for the business to justify expenditures.

One such expense might be a project they’ve been wanting to complete all year, but didn’t have the surplus cash on hand to pay for.

Ask around.  Even if you don’t score a full-time, permanent gig, you may be able to utilize your skills on a temporary basis.  If you can procure a dream per-project job – one that fits your ambitions like a glove – than it really is a step in the right direction!  You’ll be able to add the job to your resume, and you’ll gain invaluable hands-on experience.

Even a part-time, six-month position doing what you love is preferable to just sticking it out in a job where you aren’t utilizing the skill sets that make your heart soar.

In addition, you can start setting up a network of business contacts.

  1. Finally, December is a good time to take a look in the direction of temporary and seasonal jobs. Let’s tackle temporary jobs, first. Many folks opt for temp jobs simply to make ends meet.  These jobs pay less, and don’t always include the benefits which full-time, permanent employees can count on.

On the plus side, these sorts of jobs are usually plentiful around year’s end and they provide a good testing ground for both the employer and employee.

Seasonal jobs in the customer service and retail sectors are off-the-hook during the month of December. Why? Folks are spending money left and right in stores, and then, either shortly before or after the holidays, these same customers queue up to call manufacturers’ and distributors’ call-in-lines, as well as corresponding chat and e-mail support. Somebody’s got to man or woman all those jobs!

Looking to broaden your horizons? If you’re not sure that your current job title is what you’d like to be doing with your work week, opt for the tried-and-true List Solution. Get a blank piece of paper and draw a line down the middle.  On the top of the left-side column, write Pros and jot down all the fulfilling parts of the job.  On the top of the column on the right, write Cons and list the parts of the job that you aren’t happy with.

When you’re done, tally up both sides.

The results should be an eye-opener.

If the Cons outweigh the Pros, it’s time to look elsewhere.

If the Pros outweigh the Cons, consider sitting down with a trusted supervisor at work to figure out how to turn the Cons to Pros.

For instance, let’s say you wrote down that you don’t like that the company isn’t open to suggestions.  Brainstorm with your trusted superior/ally and take positive action, such as seeing what you can do to place an Employees’ Suggestion Box in a well-populated place.

If you have an issue with how your boss doesn’t let you in on tricks of the trade, you and your problem-solver might come up with a weekly 10-minute meeting with your boss during a lax time in the day, at which time you’d ask your boss to share with you how they handled something challenging that week.  Your boss wouldn’t have to divulge his or her secrets to success and you’d be seeing the job through their eyes…which is, after all, the next best thing to being taught the tricks of the trade!

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