Out with the old, in with the new

By Siobhan O’Malley, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers

Now that we are well and truly over Christmas and have ditched those unrealistic New Year’s resolutions, let’s talk about…New Year’s resolutions.  After last week’s column, I started thinking about what changes you might commit to making in your working life in 2018 to put you in a better position to seek a pay rise next year, writes Siobhan O’Malley, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  1. Resolve to speak at meetings. Make your contribution early in the meeting, even if it’s just in the pre-meeting banter, and avoid spending the whole meeting agonising over something clever to say. Slowly but surely, you should gain confidence as you hear your voice and see how well your contributions are received.
  2. Like it or not, appearances matter; so dress to impress. It doesn’t require a completely new wardrobe or have to cost an arm and a leg. Smart, clean and well-pressed clothes create a good impression. Pull together a simple work uniform that suits your style and take the decision, and time, out of choosing what to wear in the morning. Let it add to your own personal brand.
  3. And speaking of brand, whatever about building your brand, at the very least you should protect it. Objectively monitor your social media presence, because you can be sure an astute boss does. This is especially pertinent if going for internal promotion or changing job. Think strategically before you post. Internet safety briefs to school children suggest that the acid test is “would you like your granny to see this?” In work, before you click, consider “would you like your boss to see this?”
  4. On a personal level, it’s not all about giving up smoking, shedding a few pounds or introducing a daily meditation practice in to your already hectic life. And yet each of these things can hugely affect your ability to work more productively and efficiently. Do not underestimate the power of achieving personal goals – the satisfaction and confidence you take from accomplishing something on a personal level will feed in to your work. You are the instrument of your work – if you are feeling more empowered, then the instrument is sharper and more confident and it will achieve more.
  5. Self-care is a hugely important topic – mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. We read about working smarter not harder. But when we get snowed under at work, the first thing we sacrifice is taking care of ourselves – going to the gym, taking a proper lunch break, and so on. Everybody is busy: prioritising work over health is a false economy. Avoid lunch ‘al desko’, and, at the very least, put your phone and your computer away while you’re eating. There has to be some truth in the old adage ‘food for thought’.
  6. Use your performance review to define your career path. With your line manager, agree where you would like to be in the future, put a timeline on it and identify the various steps that need to be taken to get there. Setting short term and more strategic goals provides focus and helps identify training gaps. Achievement of interim goals keeps you motivated and on track for success.

Whatever the changes, make them achievable and commit to them 100 per cent – they are your commitment to yourself. There’s no better reason to make a change, and there’s no time like the present.

iobhan O’Malley is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers. We have offices nationwide, plus a full online service. Our services include CV preparation, interview training, mock interviews, personal statements, career planning / direction, LinkedIn profiles and application forms.