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New Year is a great time to spruce up your career

Happy New Year! Have you made any resolutions yet? Well, even if resolutions aren't your style, the New Year is a logical time to start fresh with some changes in your job and your work life.
Here are a few ideas --big and small-- to get you started:
  • Learn something new that will make you more marketable. Check the papers and job boards for jobs in your field and see what the latest qualifications are. This should give you ideas about where to focus your own development. Next New Year's eve you could be one step closer to your next career move.
  • Volunteer for something extra at work. Your company probably has lots of opportunities for people who are willing to reach out and grab them. Join the office social committee or bowling'll see fellow workers from a whole new perspective and develop a new branch of your network.
  • Take up a new outside hobby or sport. Staying active is good for the spirit as well as the body. Start tennis lessons or build birdhouses...whatever will provide a totally different activity from your job duties. Your mind craves the challenge of varied activities and the stimulation will make you fresher at work.
  • Change your workspace. Whether you change your office decor or clean out your files, the new environment will do you good. New surroundings can be uplifting and organized systems will make you feel more in control.
  • Ask 3 respected professionals in your field, "What was the best business book you read last year?" and then read their top choices. If you like, follow up with them after you've read the books to discuss key ideas. It's a great time-saving way to stay on top of the latest and greatest new books while enriching your network.
  • Write more personal notes. High tech is convenient and fast but it tends to de-humanize the workplace. Short thank you notes and brief notes to acknowledge someone else's latest accomplishment make the work place a better place. Maintaining a personal touch in spite of a busy schedule will make your efforts all the more appreciated and significant.
  • Upgrade your appearance. If you haven't updated your wardrobe and you're wearing the same old hairstyle you've had for years, maybe it's time for a more updated look. If your appearance shouts 1999 people may assume your ideas aren't up-to-date in 2009.
  • Stop complaining about your biggest beef and do something about it. If a policy or procedure at work is bugging you, take steps to correct it or bring it to the right person's attention. If a co-worker is a pain, work on your half of the relationship.
  • Write down your personal and professional goals for the year. There's magic in writing down what you want to accomplish. Many successful people are firm believers in the power of writing down their short and long-term goals. They say it holds them more accountable and is a more powerful motivator than just a passing wish. (I did this for myself last year and it worked so well I'm going to do it again this year.)
Whatever you decide to do for yourself in 2009, may it bring satisfaction, success and prosperity!

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