Summer is not my season. I like the longer days and the fact that it rains less but, all things considered, 23 degrees is my comfortable heat limit and I’d much rather settle for Spring or Autumn. This is especially true when it comes to work, so as the heat fades and jeans, tights and coats make a welcome return I breathe a sigh of relief.
I also associate September with fresh starts, a hangover from school days. Autumn for me will forever be intrinsically linked with the promise of a new school year, coming back from 6 weeks of holiday with the slate wiped clean and the possibility of fulfilling your potential right there to grab for yourself (I was a nerd!).
It’s also a great time of year for getting things done and, in my opinion September 1st is far superior to January 1st. For one, the hangover isn’t as bad, there’s no societal pressure to commit to punishing resolutions, and thirdly, the Christmas holidays are closer, with all sorts of fun coming up en route to party season.
So I’d like to propose that this is the time to harness the optimism of summer before it completely disappears make a some positive changes, especially if you’re thinking about developing your career.
Invest in your development
Investing in growth isn’t just about committing money, it’s about investing time and brain power and if you’re tempted to learn something new or sharpen up your existing skills there’s still time to get enrolled in college or start thinking about taking a short course.
The academic year is about to start and there are still plenty of places floating about. With part-time and distance learning options it’s never been easier to study on the side. You might be looking for a Masters, a Post-Grad Certificate or even just a taster to whet your appetite and get your brain engaged. If the financial constraints are putting you off, there might be scope for your employer or union to sponsor you and if not, there’s a new post-grad loan scheme that has come into effect this year.
It’s not just about doing something externally either. Ask about internal opportunities, go on secondment or sign up to a work based development course. A change can be as good as a rest and you’ll never know what avenues it might open up for you.
Revisit any professional goals you had for the year
What did you promise yourself you’d get done this year? With four months to go until December 31st you have a good portion of time to tick some of those items of your list.
If the opportunities aren’t coming up in work, have a think about how you might achieve them externally for example If you decided you wanted to present more then think about giving a talk at a local net-working group, if work life balance was your goal, leave on time tonight or delegate something tomorrow
Set SMART goals, and write them down, (it improves the chance that you’ll actually complete them) and revisit them regularly.
Make a change before xmas
With the summer holidays done and everyone back at work, recruitment will swing back into action again.
On average it takes between 6-12 weeks for a hiring process to run end to end, so if you have a notice period and want to start something new in the real New Year you need to get cracking with your search. Brush off your CV and Linked-In profile, contact recruiters in your sector and sign up for job alerts from your target employers.
If you have no idea what to do or where to start, career coaching could help. Alternatively, there are plenty of self-help careers books that can get you thinking creatively about next steps, I would recommend Career Coach: Your Personal Workbook for a Better Career by Corrinne Mills.