Thinking about a career overhaul after (another) rough year?
Do things slow down for you at work over the summer months?
There’s a lot of press out there right now about burnout. Everyone has been hit hard by the travails of the past few years, and teachers, health care workers and others on the “front line” have been hit harder than most. Unlike many, they didn’t get the “Great Pause” that gave others an opportunity to reconsider their careers.
There’s also a lot of press about how that great pause has led to the “Great Resignation” and for employers, the incredible gap between the number of jobs and workers to fill them. (Read “Find your LAST.BEST.JOB! 3 big reasons now is the time”)
In short, opportunities abound despite the current economic uneasiness, and with a summer slow-down, now is a great time to consider (or reconsider) your career.
Whether you have a few months off before the next school year starts, a week to hang out at the lake, or just a long weekend or two, the lazy days of summer are a great time to reflect on your career and aspirations, dream about what they could become, and maybe even take some baby steps in that direction.
And you might decide to make one or more of these 5 activities part of your regular restorative practice.
1. Make use of those summer gatherings to “network”.
Networking is just connecting with people, and we have unique opportunities to do that during summer. We might see different people than we see the rest of the year, and likely in a more relaxed setting. (Read “The Networking Poster Child”)
Use the block party, the reunion, the kids’ ballgame, and those chance interactions with temporary neighbors at the lake place to float ideas, plant seeds, make new connections, and ask questions about careers that interest you. Don’t forget to exchange contact information with loose connections so you have the option to follow up in the future, after you’ve thought about what you learned.
Pay special attention to people in entirely different fields than those you’re already familiar with. If you decide to pursue a career change, that old adage is really true: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
2. Take a hobby to a new level.
Restore your psyche by indulging in your favorite hobby. Don’t forget the mojito/fresh lemonade/cold beer/G&T!
Explore whether that hobby might be the ticket to something amazing.
- Talented artist or love crafting? Try a new medium. Scale something you love doing and set up an Etsy shop.
- DIYer? Take photos and write about the process as you go through your next project, then share it online. You could start by just sharing it with your own network on Facebook, Instagram, TicToc…
- Love tennis / poker / waterskiing / classic cars / pets / travel / skeet shooting? What’s the next level? What could you turn that into?
3. Learn about something that will give you career ideas…
or deepen your knowledge in an area of interest that might turn into a future career opportunity.
There are resources on every kind of income opportunity you’ve thought of, and probably many you haven’t. Here are some ideas to get you started, perfect for a rainy morning in the cabin/ gazebo/camper van with a cup of your favorite hot beverage.
- Passive income – Passive Income Freedom by Gundi Gabrielle (book)
- Consulting – Consult Your Way to a Full Time Job by John Arms (book)
- Side hustles you can start now – Teachers Pay Teachers, Fiverr, Upwork (websites)
- Careers and companies that interest you – company websites, job posting sites, LinkedIn profiles, GlassDoor
4. Get inspired by ordinary people who’ve done extraordinary things.
There are thousands of books (and audiobooks!), TED talks, and podcasts to choose from. Nothing will inspire you to your own hero’s journey better than the story of someone else who has taken on incredible obstacles and won.
Pick one and take it along on the pontoon, in the car, to the soccer game or the fishing dock.
Here are some examples.
- TED talks – Bethany Hamilton, Jim Abbot, Cathy Heying
- Biographies – “Sully” Sullenberger, Helen Keller, Malala Yousafzai, Ernest Shackleton, Oskar Schindler, Martin Luther King Jr., Irene Sendler, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Viktor Frankl
- Podcasts – This American Life, The Moth, StoryCorps
You can do this anywhere. Yes, even the beach.
Give yourself plenty of thinking time. You might use a journal to help you reflect by writing. Don’t just dwell on the past; spend twice as much time focused on your brightest future.
Here are some prompts to get you started.
- Make a list of what you really want out of the rest of your career.
- Inventory your transferrable skills
- Identify your SuperPowers (Download my “Uncover Your SuperPowers” mini e-book)
- Dream – about writing a book, traveling the world, starting a business or nonprofit.
- Do an honest assessment of your current situation and the likelihood you’ll get the things you really want if you don’t make a proactive move.
Use this summer to make a proactive choice about your future. If you can’t make the choice every day to do the work you’re currently doing, make a choice not to. (Take the “Should I actually quit my job?” 60-second quiz)
Leverage the thinking, planning, dreaming, and experimenting you’ve done to move forward into your best future, whether that means stepping deeper into the job you have, gunning for a promotion, starting a side hustle that will turn into a career transition or just give you financial freedom, or taking a huge leap into something brand new.
You’ve got this!
Lorri Anderson is an expert consultant to businesses and a powerful coach to individuals. After a long and rich career as a strategic HR executive, she is driven to give back by changing the Human Experience in today’s workplaces, one business or human at a time.