Now that 2012 is almost upon us, it’s a good time to take a hard look at what we’ve accomplished in 2011 and what we still need and want to do in the months ahead. Without a clear sense of purpose and direction, we’re likely to waste a lot of time floundering around aimlessly. As Simon Sinek (author of Start With Why) put it recently, “We must be clear about where we’re going if we want anyone to help us get there.”
I’ve talked before about having a career management/job search plan and keeping it up to date, fine-tuning it as needed while you move forward, so this isn’t exactly earth-shaking news. However, in view of some of the ongoing economic challenges (domestic and global), as well as corporate uncertainty and other factors influencing hiring practices, this issue has taken on even greater importance.
It’s probably impossible to develop a plan that covers all contingencies and protects you from disappointment in every direction, but not establishing and maintaining a plan leaves you vulnerable to a higher risk of failure. You can certainly have a flexible job search plan; in fact, it’s an excellent idea to do that, because it enables you to adapt to changing circumstances more readily.
If you haven’t already made a realistic assessment of where you and your career stand at this point, I recommend putting that at the top of your “to do” list. Next, do whatever research and soul-searching you need in order to decide what your job search direction and actions should be for the coming year. Then identify the resources you believe are essential or at least most likely to be useful to you in achieving that direction. Remember, though, that usefulness should be a two-way street. If the resources include people, which they should, you need to be prepared to reciprocate, not just expect all the help and good stuff to flow toward you.
I doubt whether anyone is expecting an easy ride in 2012. Depending on what publications you read (online and offline), you’ll see mixed opinions, even among some respected “experts.” However, I’m a firm believer in optimism, and I also believe it fuels achievements that people might initially have labeled as highly improbable, if not impossible. So, without acting like an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand (and, yes, I understand they don’t really do that), you might seriously consider giving yourself a hefty dose of optimism as you prepare to tackle the challenges ahead and do whatever it takes to conduct an effective job search.
As one of my favorite inspirational people, Jon Gordon, concludes in a newsletter article he basically republishes each year: “I know that 2011 was not a great year for many people but I believe New Year’s Day represents a fresh start and it presents a new opportunity to create the life and career you want. All you have to do is jump in with all that you are and all that you wish to become.”
Hold that thought! It could help make your year more successful than you think.