Money & Career

Five ideas to give yourself a January career tune-up

Each January, I try to use any extra time to give my working self a bit of TLC - call it a career tune-up if you will. I take time to clear my desk, connect with people and to think about the year ahead and what I want to do with it.

I’m not a big fan of winter – but I do like January. I’m not too sick of the cold (yet) – and the sky at this time of year is a brilliant shade of blue I never see during any other month. Best of all, I love that January always seems to give me a bit of breathing space at work – time to do things I never have time to do during the rest of the year. It’s because, post-holidays, everyone is getting back into the work swing and planning for the year ahead without the pressure of intense deadlines that will, inevitably, be in place by the end of the month. 

So each January, I try to use any extra time to give my working self a bit of TLC – call it a career tune-up if you will. I take time to clear my desk, connect with people and to think about the year ahead and what I want to do with it vis a vis work. 

Here are a few small things you could consider doing at work this month to help gear yourself up for a great 2011:
Book lunches and coffees: January is a great time to book coffee or lunch with someone you want to get to know professionally, whether it’s a colleague, a potential mentor or someone who works in a field you’d like to learn about. 
Strategize: Do you have a work-related goal or idea you’ve been thinking about for months? If you have some spare time at your desk, why not start mapping out a path for making that goal a reality? If you want to make a job change, list any qualifications or courses you’ll need. If you’re interested in a promotion within your current organization, do some research about different departments and areas of interest and get a discussion going with your HR department about what it might take to make the move or get that dream job. 
Clean up: This is a big one for me – most of the time my office is a disaster. Take the time to get rid of extra paper at the office. And in your home office, file away bills, receipts and any other paper you’ll need to access in the coming months (tax time is on its way!). 
Make the most of your company benefits: If you haven’t signed on to your company pension plan or group RRSP, now’s the time to start. You could also revisit the benefits you do have and make sure they’re still working for you. For example, if you have a defined contribution pension plan at work, have you made your investment decisions? Or are you still sitting in the default fund? January is a great time to maximize your hard-earned benefits at work. 
Be an idea person:  Take the time to come up with a new idea or solution this month that can help you or your team do things better. That doesn’t mean telling people how to do their jobs, but coming up with ideas to save people time or money can always be appreciated…

FILED UNDER: