Like many of you, I headed back to work on Tuesday after some time off. I was totally disconnected while I was away-even though I wasn’t traveling, I feel strongly that it’s very important to completely disconnect and recharge every once in a while. During my time off I relaxed, worked on this blog, went on a hike, and spent time with family. Now that I’m recharged, I’m ready and raring to go on my return to work. This article will tackle two important aspects of getting back-first, catching up; and second, tackling your career goals.
Returning from Work After Vacation
Before the break I wrote a handy checklist of what to do before you go on vacation-now we’ll tackle the reverse, how to come back from vacation. Here’s a day-by-day plan on getting back to work without going crazy:
New Year New You – Career Goals
As part of your new years annual report and goal-setting, you may have set some career or work related goals. Perhaps there’s a raise, bonus, specific assignment, new job, or promotion in your goals for 2017. Well, the first week of the new year is the best time to start tackling those goals to set yourself up for success this year. Set aside a few hours your first week back to start better defining your goals, and schedule time on your calendar throughout the year specifically to work on them.
What should you be doing with your new year career goals? This week we’ll tackle just one topic – an important first step in achieving your career goal for the year. It’s all about making your goals SMART.
What’s SMART, you might ask? It’s an acronym to help you make sure your goals are clearly defined. According to Project SMART, the letters can stand for many things, but I usually see the framework as:
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Achievable
- R – Relevant
- T – Time-bound
Here’s some examples of career goals that aren’t SMART:
- I want to get a new job
- I want a promotion
- I want a raise and a big bonus
Those are excellent goals to strive for, but they’re too vague. How will you create a plan around these goals when you don’t know specifically what you’re striving towards? When do you want to achieve that goal? Why is this an important goal for you? Those are all questions you need to answer in order to start on the next few steps in your career plan.
So lets tackle one of those non-SMART goals and make it SMART. We’ll take the “new job” goal.
- Specific: Define exactly what kind of “new job” you want. Are you looking to switch companies? Change careers? Or get a job in your field but in a different area of your company?
- Example: I want to get an entry-level job in (specific area of) finance at a Fortune 500 company, as part of a development program that will lead the way to a career in finance over the next five years
- Measurable: How will you measure this goal?
- Example: I will measure this goal by seeing whether I did or did not land that job
- Achievable: Is this goal realistically achievable in the time-frame you’ll set out in the fifth step? For example – if you have no college education, a background only in retail as a cashier, and no connections at a company, a job in finance at a Fortune 500 company is likely not achievable right now. If it’s not achievable yet, what’s your plan for making it that way?
- Example: This is achievable because I just completed my degree in finance from a four-year university, and have worked prior internships at large companies
- Relevant: This is the “why” of your goal. What is is that makes this specific goal relevant to you and your life? Knowing your “why” will help make sure the goal you’re striving towards is something you really want. There needs to be meaning behind the goal for it to be a successful addition to your life. If the “why” is “because someone else told me I should”, rethink that goal. The goal should be relevant to you, not someone else.
- Example: I really want to help companies measure and track their financial information to ensure they’re meeting their obligations to shareholders, customers, and employees
- Time-bound: When will you achieve your goal by?
- Example: By August of 2017
So how did our goal change by making it SMART?
- Old Goal: I want to get a new job
- New Goal: I want to get an entry-level job in (specific area of) finance at a Fortune 500 company, as part of a development program that will lead the way to a career in finance over the next five years, by August of 2017. I am well-prepared for this job because of my degree in finance from a four-year university, and my prior internships at large companies. This is important to me because I really want to help companies measure and track their financial information to ensure they’re meeting their obligations to shareholders, customers, and employees. I’ll know I’m successful if I land this type of job
So make sure you set aside time this week to make your goals SMART. This will help pave the way to successful career growth in 2017.
How was your time coming back from vacation? What are your career goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments.