The average person will spend over 99,000 hours at work in the course of their lifetime. Knowing that a sizeable portion of your waking life will be spent on the job, it’s important to find something that you enjoy. It’s time to take control of your job and get the results that you want to lead a happy and productive life.
Take stock of your past
They say you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. Take some time to reflect on your career up until now, and evaluate your successes and your failures. Think about when you were happiest and most productive in your career, and when you felt uninspired and bored. If you can remember the circumstances around your career journey’s ups and downs, you can use that knowledge to guide your decisions about your future.
Envision your future
Figure out what you want your future to look like. Do you want to dedicate yourself to one organization and steadily rise up the corporate ladder? Are you interested in seeking out new opportunities in a different field? Do you want to earn enough money to enable you to retire early and travel the world? Or do you want to raise a family and have time to spend with them, watching them grow? By understanding how you want your future to shape up, you can make smarter decisions about what type of job will set you up for success.
Avoid negative self-talk
Sometimes, you are your own worst enemy. Negative self-talk can keep you from engaging in exciting opportunities and new chances to grow. We all fall victim to self-doubt from time to time, and it can be hard to silence our inner critic. Don’t limit your list of potential new jobs because you are nervous that you can’t hack it. Instead, remind yourself of your skills and talents. Think back to another time when you successfully completed a project that made you a nervous wreck in the beginning. Also, don’t get discouraged if your job search starts off slow. It can be easy to begin doubting your skills when the frustration of your job search sets in. Call up a supportive friend or former colleague who can adjust your attitude by reminding and reassuring you of your talent. Exude confidence by acknowledging your skills and abilities, and employers will recognize them as well.
Work your contacts
In today’s career market, it’s often more about who you know than what you know. Be sure that the key component of your job search is connecting with your network of friends and former colleagues. They are often the best resources to learn about new jobs and openings that fit your skill set. Don’t be afraid to let your friends know that you are looking for a job; you’d be surprised how helpful they can be in offering solid leads. You can also utilize social media wisely to expand your network through sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Be open to new ideas
Don’t pigeonhole your job search into limited areas or interests. Be open to ideas that you hadn’t thought of before. The unknown doesn’t have to be scary; more often it’s exciting and inspiring. Just because your career has followed a certain path in the past, that doesn’t mean you can’t shake things up for your future. Similarly, just because you’ve always lived in a certain part of the country, that doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever. Think about whether you’d be willing to relocate for the right job. If you are open to a change of scenery, you open yourself up to a much wider job market than you ever expected.
Follow these tips for taking control of your job, and you can end up in a position where you truly thrive. Because if you’re going to spend 99,000 hours at work, you might as well enjoy them.
Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at Rent.com, eBay and US Interactive.
For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.