This month’s career focus inside the December issue of Pathfinder International sees columnist Giles O’ Halloran highlight the importance of reflection…

We are now into December and I daresay everyone is preparing for Christmas, the New Year, and the festive season. Most organisations quieten their activity during this period, and they focus on closing off the year ready for the next one. People focus on finalising the year or preparing for the new one, recruitment slows, and many take the opportunity to enjoy extended and well-deserved leave.

However, many take this time and the opportunity to reflect on their future, what they want from their work and how the new year might offer something different or even exciting. So as a final piece for this year, here are some things to consider ready for 2022 that might help you ….

Taking time out:

The words – The Great Resignation – are now being used. This has already started in the US, and we are seeing signs of this in the UK and across Europe. As economies have re-opened, people have been reflecting on their work. Some have enjoyed more flexible working arrangements and don’t want to return to the old way of working. Some have opted to move away from their original career paths and look for something new, exciting, or more fulfilling. Furlough and the loss of employment has made people consider what actually motivates them. This situation may well have two effects, one is that more jobs will be opened and become available to those looking for a new opportunity. However, it could also lead to certain job sectors becoming more saturated and therefore competitive with more people looking for roles in that space. It is therefore worthwhile keeping an eye on employment news and sector updates to make sure you keep your finger on the pulse.

Timing is everything:

Lots of people take the opportunity to reflect and relax over the holiday period. This is a good thing and highly recommended. However, this also means that there is usually a wave of people who return in the new year looking for new opportunities. The “New Year, New Career” is a common mindset, so just be aware this might mean an increase in the number of applications for posts as organisations open their doors again after the Christmas period. Perhaps consider planning how you might approach or even apply for roles in the new year. Get your CV or resume up to date, make sure your LinkedIn profile is current and life, reach out to your network to say you are looking for a new opportunity, or set up alerts on various systems for potential vacancies. We all know that prior preparation and planning prevents poor performance.

Time is relative:

It is essential to remember is that timing is everything. You need to understand that lots may be competing for a short period of time, and this might lead to increased competition for posts, extended waiting periods relating to recruitment processes and the knock-on effect waiting for feedback. Timing is everything in terms of putting applications in and leveraging your network for potential opportunities. In the same light, time is relative. What you might think is a reasonable time for a response or feedback (if at all these days!), is never the same as others. Organisations, by the verry nature of their processes, number of people involved and the systems they use mean that they take longer to do things than you or I might think. You need to accept this and focus on pushing forward, rather than waiting forever. Don’t let their delays hinder your progress but be mindful of why it might be the case.

Time is everything:

I may have shared two concepts regarding time in the previous section relating to timing and how it relates to different stakeholders. However, time defines everything about our lives. It defines our working hours, how we manage our lives, our activities and essentially our lifespans. We therefore need to appreciate that time is our biggest asset and one we should truly value.

So, take the opportunity to commit your time in things that matter to you and that are fulfilling, Firstly, take time to decompress and relax. Spend time with family members, loved ones and friends. This is revitalising and recharges our batteries for the year ahead.

Also think about where you commit your time in terms of your career. Is it worth investing time in building your network, re-establishing connections, and thinking about the direction you want your career to progress? Why not do a simple stakeholder mapping exercise to look at who you need to connect or spend time with so that you can invest and prioritise your time effectively. Time invested in productive activity is fulfilling and rewarding.

Take time to consider:

This final point is the most pertinent and most relevant. It is not just about taking time to consider your next career move, but it should also be about considering whether the grass is truly greener on the other side of the fence. Talk to others who might have left or moved on and see what their thoughts and experiences have been. Speak to people you trust, who know you and that can be honest about life outside. Also speak to those who might have returned to service and find out why. Taking time to do so could help either reassure you that leaving, and a new career is the right choice. However, it might also help you reassess whether you are making the right choices that relate to you, your situation and what you truly want from your career going forward. Life outside is not always greener, and you have the opportunity to consider what really matters.

Time is our most important asset in life, and we all wish we had more of it. I therefore hope that you use your time this December to help you in the best way to put the best foot forward for 2022. Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone the very best for the festive season and new year.

Read the December issue of Pathfinder here for free