It’s the annual celebration of Thanksgiving, that time of year when families get together and complain about dissatisfaction with work. What if we approached the holiday season as an opportunity for taking action on shelved career plans?
We tend to think of the holidays as a time to get away from our workplace. And yet, it can be a time to reconsider career choices and solicit input from family and friends.
Let’s reimagine the pre or post-dinner conversation that has previously been a competition to demonstrate who has the worst boss, longest hours, deadest of dead end jobs. Consider a conversation where you identify your spot on your career timeline, articulate your goals and ask for guidance on next steps.
Your friends and family are your most trusted advisors. They’re the folks who know all your faults and are still there. Don’t waste their time with a whining session. Respect their abilities to listen and share feedback.
Start with the past year and what you have accomplished. Even in the worst job situation we can salvage a few learning experiences, from both failure and success. Come up with a way to communicate your skills, leaving out acronyms, to enable folks to envision how your strengths apply across fields.
Next, recall that dream job that has been tantalizing you, but disappears in the fog of the everyday demands of the workplace. Got it? Now you have your baseline and end goal. Don’t be shy about sharing it.
What’s missing? The interim steps to get you from point A to point B.
And this is where those negative conversations turn into positive and productive discussions. Now that you have shared your goals, folks are empowered to help: adding to your list of skills based on a long term view of your career, providing input on strategy and offering connections to keep the conversation going after the holidays.
It’s not just the folks who are contemplating career transition that can benefit from these holiday interactions. If you think all is well in your career, a close confidant can often detect warning signs you may be missing in your optimism.
The real value of your family/friends ‘board of advisors’ is their ability to hold you accountable to your dream. You will see them, same time next year, and they will ask you how far you’ve travelled on the road to your destination.