Spring Clean Your Career

Spring Clean Your Career

Spring is just around the corner and as new life emerges and the scent of daffodils fills the air, one’s mind can be forgiven for wandering onto the subject of ‘new beginnings. Fear not, I am not referring to Brexit, but instead considering what a spring clean means for your career, and whether now could be the time for new beginnings at work.  You may be happy where you are, halfway out the door, or stuck somewhere in between, turning to The Clash for answers to the - Should I stay, or should I go now conundrum. Here’s a few tips for helping your career to blossom, whatever the weather.

I love my job and want to remain

Well congratulations, that’s nice and easy, no difficult negotiations for you.

Obviously, there is always room for improvement, but I would be tempted to focus on what it is that you’re getting so right at the moment. You’ll need to draw on this in future in gloomier times because things rarely stay rosy forever. I realise that coming from a recruiter, this sounds like project fear, but the likelihood is you’ll be on the move again at some point. So, I would ask yourself, what makes you irritatingly chirpy as you bounce through that door on a Monday morning? Is it down to having a tremendous boss, purposeful work, responsibility, work life balance, feeling appreciated? Etc…

Be aware of what these things are. They are what make you happy and are therefore what you need to look for in future jobs. If things go stale, maybe it’s because that boss left, or you don’t have the work life balance anymore. Knowing what it is allows you to look for it again. So, one day when a Recruiter asks what you’re looking for in your ideal role, you can give them some considered answers that genuinely mean something to you.

Enough is enough, I want to leave

Coming to this conclusion can be terrifying and liberating in equal measure, but now you have made your decision, it’s down to you to take back control of your career.

Finding and securing a new role is essentially a series of identifying and taking positive actions in the right direction. These actions need to be considered and targeted, so don’t just send your CV out willy-nilly hoping for the best; this rarely works. Map out what you want to do, who you know, what your strengths are, potential obstacles, etc. Then put a strategic plan in place and hold yourself accountable for following through with each step.

Update your CV and get it on job boards, contact some discerning recruiters, set aside time for browsing job ads, whatever you deem necessary. Providing you identify the steps you need to take and hold yourself accountable for taking them, you can have confidence that opportunities will start to present themselves.

So come on and let me know, should I stay, or should I go?

Indecision causes stress and anxiety, but some decisions just aren’t black and white, yes or no, in or out.

Maybe your current job is far from perfect, but you have responsibilities and at least it does pay the bills. People say, “follow your dreams” but that’s usually those who have already ‘made it’. We can’t all be footballers / popstars /cheese-rolling champions. What about the others who took a leap of faith and fell flat on their naively optimistic faces? What would their advice be with the beauty of hindsight? “Follow your steady life path and don’t go off the rails?” Not quite so catchy on a meme with a sunset backdrop is it?

 This is an important decision, and the fact that you are taking it seriously is testament to what a level-headed person you are. It is not for me or anybody else to tell you what you should do here. The answer may just come to you, or you may have to coax it out. You can do this by engaging different parts of your brain and giving your mind the tools it requires to fully explore the dilemma. I’m talking Mind Maps, SWOT Analyses and even just talking things through over a beverage or 3. These are all effective ways of getting your brain to start working its magic. If you’re not sure where to start, ask yourself some questions along the lines of:

  • Are things likely to change in my current job? Can I influence this or is out of my control?
  • Best / worst case scenario if I stay / go?
  • What would I miss about my current role? What might be better elsewhere?
  • Is it me that wants a new job, or somebody else?

There is no harm in “putting the feelers out there”, he says, quoting directly from the handbook of 101 recruitment clichés. But it’s true, having some initial conversations with recruiters and hiring managers can give you a flavour of where you stand in the current market. A tentative exploration of the job market is fine but be upfront with people and don’t pretend you are fully committed to an opportunity if you are not. It’s a very small world and you want to keep your contacts onside.

A final word

I’m almost out of Brexit analogies now, so best of luck if you are giving your career a good old spring clean this March. Whether you’re in, out, or deadlocked somewhere in between, I hope you found these tips bordering on useful. If you didn’t then I won’t write anymore, I will respect the will of the people.

Article by Shane Frost, The Honest Recruiter

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