If you’ve been back at work a couple of weeks, and it’s all feeling a bit, well flat, perhaps you have the Blue Monday career blues.
Today is ‘Blue Monday’. So called because the 3rd Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. It’s the perfect storm of the post-Christmas slump, the dark and dreary nights, and the resolutions to start a healthy diet and exercise regime which have fallen by the wayside.
Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the CMI, said: “’Blue Monday reminds us of the importance of tackling unhappiness in the workplace. Our recent research highlighted the fact that the average manager in the UK works an extra 29 days over the course of a year. Over half of managers say their working hours have a bad effect on their stress levels, which is having a disastrous impact on the nation’s productivity.”
You don’t have to feel blue about work and career. You simply have to decide to take action to do something about it today.
On the night before Christmas …
A couple of weeks before Christmas, we got down the tree and the decorations from the loft. I spotted my old briefcase which I haven’t used for years. Curiosity got the better of me and I had a quick rummage inside. As I sorted through the papers (mostly old Catford Cycling Club newsletters), I came across an old Arthur Andersen appraisal form.
How clearly do you express your ambitions?
I had just been promoted into a project management role which took me away from a leadership role. My manager thought I was doing brilliantly in the new role.
My comments reflect that I was enjoying the new role … but what I also notice is how clearly I expressed my ambitions. I didn’t want to ‘get stuck’ doing project management instead of people management. I have a reputation as an action-taker and I am pretty sure that I made my ambitions clear from my actions too.
And that’s the thing. Your career success doesn’t happen by accident. It happens on purpose.
My success happened because I had a strategy and a plan. I was clear about what I wanted and that gave me career confidence. I knew my own strengths and talents. I was strategic in my networking. I volunteered to get involved in high profile projects. I coached my team and co-workers so that the whole department raised its performance.
I worked full-time and took full advantage of flexible working (you have to when your boss and half your team are based in Chicago). But I got my big law firm promotion when I had two children under the age of 5 and I didn’t work silly hours to get it.
Career success happens when you
- Express your skills and ambitions
- Take action to stand out from the crowd
- Get clear on your career goals
- Focus your time and energy on the ‘right’ things
- Ignore those voices in your head “are you really sure you can do this”
- Put strategies in place to cope with the overwhelm
- Get career confident
When you have Career Confidence, you know what you want, what is important and how you are going to get it: your career, your goals, your strategy, your actions and most importantly, how to balance work and life in the way that works for you.
When you don’t have confidence
- You procrastinate and don’t get anything done because you don’t know how to get started.
- You fear what others might think and whether you will be judged. What if it goes wrong? What if I fail? Will they think I’m disloyal? That I don’t deserve it? That I’m too old? Too young? Not ready for it? I’m not good enough?
- You get overlooked for promotion because you’re busy being reactive not proactive.
- You don’t get the right opportunities because you haven’t expressed your skills or ambitions.
- That voice in your head says “are you ready for this?” or “are you sure you can do it?“
Sometimes you just need to feel the fear and do it anyway. Not only do I say this to my clients, I say it to myself too. (It’s from a book by Susan Jeffers.)
What you need is career confidence
The good news is that when you have career confidence, you know what you want and what is important. You get confident that your career is right for you. You get clear on your career goals and how you are going to achieve them. You have a strategy that works in place. You make the most of the time you do have. And you can balance work and life more confidently.
Decisions feel less daunting. You stop the doubting voice in your head. You feel less overwhelm because you are have clarity on what you want so you know where to focus your time and energy. You can make your career success happen on purpose without burnout or overwhelm!
How I help create career confidence
I have a simple step by step process I work through to help ambitious women to create career confidence .
This process works beautifully whether you are looking for a career and confidence boost before going back to work after a career break or maternity leave. It also works brilliantly if you are in a career and you want that next promotion; maybe you want to get noticed and make a bigger impact; or you want new leadership responsibilities; even if you’re thinking about a sideways move or change in environment.
If you want this to be THE year for your career confidence, and if you know you could do with some help to get that clarity and confidence so need to get the success you want, let’s talk. Click here to book your complimentary clarity call. Sometimes a simple conversation is all it takes. And if it needs more than that, we can talk about that too.