Take control of your career this summer

Ah, summer.  Time of schoolchildren let loose on the streets, melting ice creams in stuffy offices, and inboxes filled with ‘out of office’ auto replies.

Even if you’re not going anywhere this year, it can be hard to even think about work when the weather is warm and your colleagues are sunning themselves on faraway beaches.

Yet if you’re not entirely happy with how your career is going, or if you’ve been thinking about changing it completely, then summer – just like that ‘dead’ week in between Christmas and New Year – can be the perfect time to take stock of how you earn your living.   

Put daydreaming to good use

I’m not advocating daydreaming at work (perish the thought!) – but let’s face it, most of us do.  As the summer workload eases off, you might find you have a bit more time to think about what would make your job better, or even about an entirely different career.

Instead of consigning these thoughts to the back of your mind, why not try following them and see where they lead?  If you’ve been thinking about working from home on the odd occasion, or perhaps working fewer hours, could you start composing a flexible work request to actually make it happen?  How about planning your request for that salary increase you never get round to mentioning?

If you want to change career completely, why not start doing some initial research? (Fact: my own magnificent career change began with a summertime Google search for “career change advice” when I was stuck in a job I didn’t want to do any more, and with no idea what I wanted to do next).

If you work for yourself, then as your clients start to drift away on holiday you could spend some valuable time thinking about what you want to achieve next.  A speaking engagement perhaps, or maybe hosting a webinar?  How about planning an e-book to boost sales? 

Build your confidence with self-improvement

Confidence comes from competence, and summer is a great time to think about what you’re good at, what you could do with improving on, and what skills you might need to reach the next level of your career.

Make a list, and then schedule in some learning or practising time – even if it’s just spending an hour every Sunday morning reading a book about something you’ve always wanted to do.

How about setting yourself a summer task; maybe something that’s slightly out of your comfort zone, such as learning a new language, or starting a new company blog?

It’s good to talk!

Contrary to popular belief, summer is a great time to hunt for a new job.  For starters, there will generally be fewer applications for advertised jobs (meaning less competition).  You could also write a tailored letter to that company you’ve always wanted to work for…and get in front of them before they start thinking about composing a recruitment ad in September!

If you’re researching a career change, summer can be a great time to arrange a coffee (or ice cream) meeting with people who can help you along the way.

Whatever you decide to work on this summer – even if it’s just your tan! –  I hope it goes well.  There will be no blog post next week, as I’m celebrating a big birthday… so have a great week and see you on the other side.