© Mikhail Mishchenko | Dreamstime.com
If you are one of the estimated 2 million people who participated in Dry January, you are probably relieved that we are well into the New Year and that you can begin quaffing once more. If you are an interim still looking for an assignment, perhaps there is not so much good cheer as there is fear that a sluggish market means you never work again.
Personally, I find the New Year a really good time for professional reflection. My own ‘new’ year usually starts in December – as that is the time that I’m wrapping up projects, and setting financial goals and business resolutions for the 12 months ahead. So far, so good…except that this time round, pressing personal commitments meant December and January were a write-off, and I was unable to kick-start my grand plans for 2016.
Which is why I find myself in February contemplating my working life and feeling somewhat as though I’m several steps behind. Of course, moaning about it, isn’t going to propel me forward any faster. So, below is a taster of the action I’m taking. I hope this inspires those of you who might also be experiencing the February funk:
Goal Clarity. I’m using this time to be really clear on my goals for 2016. As a career interim, I’m pretty well established, but it’s still helpful to know where I want to go. I’ve set myself an earnings target (see my previous post M is for Money ), and some non-negotiables – i.e. location, type of role, working patterns, etc. This way, I can easily evaluate any opportunities which arise – saying ‘yes’ to the ones that are a good fit, and saying’no’ with confidence, but without regret to those that don’t.
Networking. Also known as getting out and about! I am a great believer that networking should be a compulsory subject in high school, but for those of us who only learnt this business skill later in life, here’s the word: never underestimate the power of a good conversation. If you have been in regular contact with your interim providers or former clients, then this shouldn’t be that hard a task. But if you are stepping into an interim role for the first time, it can be a bit daunting. Please resist your introvert urges to hide under the duvet! Reach out to providers and people in your network, attend industry events. Talk, ask questions. Be open and approachable – assignments can be found if you tackle your search in the right way.
Brand coherence. Think you are a person and not a brand? Think again. Clients who buy interims purchase more than what’s on your CV. You want that fabulous shiny new assignment? Then walk your talk and be the person they want to hire. This month, I’m using my time to refresh my website, update my blog and make sure that my social media profiles (linked-in, twitter , about.me) not only reflect who I am professionally, but also why clients should engage my services.
Action is the antidote to despair. Focused activity might not help you find an assignment immediately, but consistency of momentum has a funny way of generating luck.
Have you made any professional resolutions this year? How do you deal with downtime? Comments and answers on the blog, please.