Many of my friends work out several times a week. My son, age 22, has taken up running five mornings a week. They are getting fit. There are many types of fitness. They are getting physically fit, but what about career fitness?
As I consult with companies, I meet with employees who are bored, dissatisfied and generally unengaged in what they are doing. They lost interest in their job, department or even the company. They lost their passion, their mojo.
So how do you rev up your passion for the job, department and company? That is where career fitness comes in. Career fitness is very similar to physical fitness. It’s about gaining energy, health, enthusiasm, and empowerment for your own career. Thankfully, there is no gym, profuse sweating, or cardio involved. Although it does require thought, planning and taking action.
So how do I become a career athlete? In the “old” days companies laid out development plans for the employee, sent you to classes and conferences in exotic destinations. Most firms have done away with that in cost cutting measures. If these options are available to you, lucky you! Be sure to take advantage of them.
For those of us living on the other side of the fence, where cost cutting has occurred, I do have some ideas. Give these suggestions some thought, make a plan, and take action. Take time to record your progress.
- Find your passion. What made you chose your line of work? What interested you in the education you have? What made you love it? If you are not passionate about your work, check out local community services, not-for-profits, and associations. Volunteer your talent so you can contribute to someone else’s future and your own.
- Refresh and expand your skills. You want to be knowledgeable about your field’s current trends. Use the web to research workshops. Have you checked out webinars or online classes? Even if your firm will not cover the cost, invest in yourself. There are inexpensive classes to help you build skills, making you more valuable to your current employer and more marketable to future employers. Look for recommended reading lists, not just in your field, but in business trends. Use the local library to check these books out.
- Broaden your business experience pushing yourself outside your comfort zone so you can work in the widest possible range of situations and circumstances. Work on a cross-functional team or move into another business function. If you have always sourced for manufacturing, check out business services. Go to work for the parent or sister company. Take on a stretch assignment to broaden your skills. Stretching is part of fitness.
- Grow and nurture your network internally within your organization and externally. Join a professional network and attend regularly. Get involved in a professional organization. Maybe even take on a leadership role.
- Be a mentor to someone starting out. Find a mentor for yourself. Ask your boss and other colleagues for feedback, advice and ideas.
- Be sure to pace yourself with downtime and vacation so you can preserve and reinforce your enthusiasm and commitment to doing your best job.
I hope you have found these tips helpful in revving up your career fitness. Once you recapture your passion, optimism will follow.
If you have other suggestions for readers of this blog, please leave a comment. I’m sure others will appreciate it!
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