Tis the season for new beginnings. Many people will promise themselves a healthier diet, more cardiovascular exercise, better financial management, but many others will strive to find new employment as well.
While the current unemployment rate hovers around 7.7 percent, the lowest it’s been since December 2008, jobs remain scarce, yet many people are hopeful of escaping unemployment or switching jobs this year.
According to a 2011 UCLA study, it’s much easier to get a new job if you already have one. And the longer you’re unemployed, the harder it is to prove yourself worthy of one because employers trust steady workflow as opposed to long gaps in employment.
I find that the New Year is a great time to evaluate your current job situation and plan out your professional goals. I started my job in advertising two years ago in the beginning of January, and it gave me a new sense of purpose. I felt reinvigorated and recharged, ready to take on my new profession uninhibited. Sometimes starting fresh at a new company is the best resolution you can make for yourself.
I recently had a friend get hired this week that is staying within the commercial flooring industry, but now working for a competitor. He received almost double his base salary and was offered more potential for advancement. “It feels so weird leaving after being there for almost six years,” he said. Many people feel this way after they depart from a job. Some report feeling guilty, unsure, and melancholy even. It feels like they broke up with their significant other. But after the initial shock wears off, most people report feeling euphoric. Sometimes career changes can be a scary situation, but sometimes uncertainty can lead you to the most unexpected places.
Another friend of mine got laid off in December from a management-consulting job he’d had for six years, and he is unsure about his next move. Consulting allowed him to work with all different kinds of clients and learn about many diverse industries. Perhaps he will look for contract work to hold him over. He has also thought about looking for in-house strategy jobs. But he is taking this time to figure out what he really wants to do with the rest of his professional life.
If you are thinking about returning to work after a long hiatus, or trying to figure out your next career move, give yourself the month of January to really think about who you are and what you want out of your professional life. No career path is set in stone. We always have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves.