With a new year just beginning, I thought this would be a perfect time to share what I think are 3 worthwhile career goals for 2020.
Regardless of your level, industry or the type of job you have, these goals are just the ticket for anyone who is trying to move forward in their career this year.
Goal #1: Ask For Something You Want
I can’t remember all the women I've coached who have come in struggling with wanting to ask for something like a holiday, more flexible work hours, or a raise from an employer and being too petrified to do so.
I get it. I spent the early years of my career keeping my head down, doing the work, and assuming that the people I worked with would notice and I’d get recognition, opportunities, or promotions in due time.
The problem with this approach is that it is way too passive and if you sit around waiting, these things will happen much more slowly or not at all.
A few years into my career, I found myself in a few situations that forced me into asking for things I wanted. I was so sure the answers would be no and I’d have to give my notice, but they weren’t.
As someone who worked as a manager for many years, I’ve been able to observe this from the other side of the table too. I’ve seen what happened when people asked for what they wanted, and what happened to those who patiently waited.
I have to say, the squeaky wheel does get the grease. That might not be fair but it is true.
Asking for something at work, when done respectfully and reasonably, will NOT hurt your career… or someone’s impression of you. The worst that can happen is that someone says no, but my guess is that the answer will be yes more often than you think.
So that’s goal #1: fight through the discomfort and ask for something you want this year. Even if you don’t get it, you’ll start the conversation and plant the seed.
Goal #2: Be Proactive About Tracking Your Wins
Getting what you want at work isn’t just about asking. It’s about asking when you’ve already proven yourself and added lots of value at your company. It’s about asking at a time when your company and team does not want you to move on to greener pastures. That’s when you have leverage.
There will likely be a time this year when you have to make a “why I’m great” case. Whether it’s during a job interview or while preparing for a performance review, it’s your job to advocate for yourself and to be able to speak confidently about your strengths and accomplishments.
So for goal #2, I recommend keeping better track of your wins - both the small and the big - and commit to doing so consistently.
This is a really simple and fast habit that can make a really big impact. So that’s goal #2. Block your calendars now.
Goal #3: Say No More Often
This is my big one for the year. I’ve definitely hit a wall where there is just too much going on in a single day or week.
If you too are finding yourself bogged down by emails, commitments that aren’t the best use of your time, or work that should be on another person’s plate, this goal is for you.
Remember that “no” is a complete sentence, and protecting your time and schedule will only allow you to do better work in the areas that actually matter.
Basically, do less with more focus and get rid of whatever mental clutter you can. It will help you advance in your career this year.
Is 2020 the year to focus on your career?
I hope your year is off to a good start. If 2020 is the year to focus on your career, here are some of the ways you can work with me:
Melanie Fieseler is a Career Consultant and Director at Work Happy Mums, the go-to resource for return-to-work professional women and career advancers. We're building a better future for working mothers and the organisations they work for. Join our community and help both our families and businesses thrive.
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