7 Tactics to Improve Your Career

New year.  New goals.  New aspirations.  If you’re like most people, some of your goals are related to your career.  According to Gallup’s 2017 Workplace study, more than half the workforce is disengaged, unsatisfied in their current jobs.  For government workers, the number rises to more than 70%.  It’s clear there is room for improvement.

Sure, you can look for a new job, but be forewarned, the grass usually isn’t greener.  Do the math – with 50-70% of workers disengaged, taking a job elsewhere would likely land you at a company from which other disengaged workers are trying to leave.  Musical chairs of job dissatisfaction.

Below are 7 tactics you can use to improve your current work situation.

1.  Be grateful for what you’ve got.  Abraham Lincoln said, “If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.”  The same applies to jobs.  Stop dwelling on all the things you don’t like about your current situation and instead begin looking for what’s positive.  Not in a haphazard way, but intentionally.  Make a list of 25 things you appreciate about your current job.  Raise your awareness of what’s good right now.  I’ll start you out… 1.  They pay you.  2. You work with some really good people.  Now, you complete the remain 23.

2. Make your job what you want it to be. Every role can be shaped and adjusted, approached in a variety of ways.  Make sure you have clarity on your key responsibilities and deliver against those tasks, and then take at least 10% of your time and use it for the activities you most enjoy.  Your days will fill with meetings and activities.  Make sure you schedule activities you enjoy into your day, and it will energize you in the aspects of your job you don’t like as much.

3. Be clear on what you want from your job. There was a reason you took the job you’re in.  What was the reason?  It’s important for you to have clarity on what you really want out of a job.  Sometimes we prioritize working with smart people, sometimes we are drawn to the product.  It may the role, the location or perhaps the pay is the most important consideration.  Know what you want most from a job and evaluate accordingly.  If your current job is still delivering against your priorities, then don’t be distracted by the noise of less important factors.

4. Help somebody else. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”  Sometimes shifting our focus from ourselves to helping others helps us gain perspective and better appreciate what we have.  Find someone less fortunate and see what you can do to help them be more successful.

5. Learn something new, anything will do.  Learning brings life. Albert Einstein said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” Learning brings vitality, it brings life.  Regardless of whether your job requires it, learn a new skill, study and understand a new part of the business, learn to do something in a new way.  The skill itself is secondary.   The value is in the learning and the energy that learning breeds.

6. Spend time with people who enjoy their jobs. Colin Powell said, “If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl.  If you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar.”  The attitudes and behaviors of those around you rub off.  If you spend your time with people always complaining about their jobs, soon you’ll be complaining as well.  Seek out the people who are happy in their jobs and you will find the same becomes true for you.

7. Schedule activities outside of work you really enjoy.  There is so much more to life than work.  If you are intentional about making time for activities you really enjoy, the energy you derive from your hobbies will follow you into your job.  The better your attitude about life in general, the better you’ll find your job to be.

You have more control over your work circumstances than you may realize.  Grow where you are and see if you can change how you feel about your current work situation.  If you are in the same place with your job one year from now, with no growth or improvement, that’s your responsibility.  Try the 7 tactics noted above and see if you can improve your career.

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