The average person spends close to nine hours a day at work. That adds up to 2,115 hours a year or a third of your adult life. For those who are happy in their jobs and have a good work/life balance, this isn’t a problem.
But that is not the case for millions of people in the UK. Recent polls have found that up to 47 per cent of people want to change jobs and more than one in five are desperate to move on within the next 12 months.
But the harsh reality is that economic conditions, necessity and the ups and downs of normal life can mean that you end up in a career you do not have a passion for. Negative feelings around your job, how much you are paid and the people you answer to can mean that you end up demotivated, dissatisfied and listless.
Stand by to rocket boost your career
But there is always hope. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the market for a promotion or pay rise with your current employer, are searching for pastures new or want to start your own business, a few simple steps can rocket boost your career and your prospects.
None of these steps involve writing new CVs or long on-spec letters… they are all about action:
1. Stop procrastinating
How many times have you told yourself that you do your best work under pressure?
But this is just a means of justifying procrastination. Instead of putting things off, make a daily list of things that you need to do and number them in order of priority. Then, focus on checking them off. Write a date when everything needs to be completed by at the top of the list.
Pic: Obtuse clock by Jan Smith
2. Ask for feedback
This is bold step but asking for an appraisal can give you some great insight into how you can improve. Use this information to create an action plan. If you are self-employed or not in work, then ask some old colleagues for their feedback.
3. Learn something
Education shouldn’t stop when you leave school or college. Don’t let your skills atrophy – take an online course, sign up for evening classes or take a part-time degree. New skills can dramatically improve your marketability.
Pic: Adult learner by Regent Language Training
4. Draw-up a five-year plan
It’s no good wishing for something to change. You have to make it happen. There is no more powerful tool for doing this than having a five-year plan in place covering your goals, what you can do now, what to do in the next year and milestones.
5. Take on a challenge
It may be outside your comfort zone, but it your boss asks for volunteers for a new project, stick your hand up. This could be a massive opportunity for you and, even if the project fails, your willingness to step up will stand you in good stead.
6. Update your communication skills
Nobody likes a weak and watery voice at the other end of a phone or across a desk. We all respond much better to people who appear to be confident and eager to listen. Learn to be straightforward, emphatic and clear as well as a good listener.
7. Learn about your sector
Most people learned about their industry when they started out and don’t bother to update that knowledge. Keep abreast of developments with trade sites, papers, magazines and blogs. This then leads on to point 8.
8. Learn to network
Once you become more confident and more knowledgeable people will automatically gravitate towards you. Make sure you’re available by maintaining social networking profiles, talking to competitors and contacts, attending events and giving advice in forums.
9. Know your worth
Keep abreast of what somebody in your position can expect to be paid across the industry. Use job boards and other websites to gauge your value and apply for jobs that might interest you – even if you don’t want to move, considering an offer with a higher salary can focus your boss’s mind when you announce you’re moving on!
10. Treat your job as a business
People who become self-employed often say that they work harder than they ever did in a job. Start being more entrepreneurial in your job – improve your productivity. Market yourself. If you see a boat float by with nobody in it, jump in and start rowing.
11. Organise your workspace
An untidy desk is usually the sign of an untidy mind. If you are looking for a promotion, searching for a new job or wanting to start a business, a cluttered office or home desk can make you feel depressed and disorganised.
12. Streamline your online activity
The internet and social media are both the biggest boons and the largest curses of our age. They can provide you with vital information at the touch of a button but also lead to hours of pointless surfing and leave you unproductive and feeling inadequate. Learn to strictly limit your surfing time both at home and at work.