Working Through The Stretch…
This time of year is a hard time of the year for a lot of people. The newness of the New Year has worn off, the holiday break is a distant memory, Martin Luther King Day marks the last holiday until Memorial Day (or maybe Good Friday if you get that day off). It is a long stretch regardless between now and the summer and it feels longer when the weather is bad and the job market continues to suffer. The winter doldrums can set in and if not careful, morale begins to suffer and then productivity slips and ultimately results falter. Here are some ways this winter to beat the winter blahs and push through the long stretch positively:
• Take control of your disposition. The recent Glassdoor.com Employment Confidence Survey indicates that there is worry about the time it will take in the future for finding a job to replace the one you are in now. Abraham Lincoln said, “You are only as happy as you make up your mind to be”. In this time when it does not look like things are going to get much better in the short-run, you have to make up your own mind, and not depend on the company, your boss or your co-workers to provide the ingredients for your happiness at work. This is a time when you have to dig deep and make the most of having a job and counting that as a blessing. Worry about the next job when the time comes but for now; be happy in the employment that you as there are many people just outside the door, who would want nothing more that the job you have today.
• Set short-term goals. It may be hard to see beyond month-to-month right now, so setting and achieving short-term goals that are achievable and can be crossed off the list will make you feel better and give you a sense of fulfillment and positive momentum. Allow these goals to be work that sets you up for bigger things in the coming business quarters.
• Learn something new. Take this period to find something new in the company that you don’t know and go learn it. It might be something in another functional area or maybe it’s a part of the business that you don’t get much exposure. In return for the time that someone gives you, teach what you know back to them. This is a good thing in that he/she who teaches learns twice, so you will grow from this effort.
• Get ready for the future…now. The job market is going to get better. The question is not “if”, it is “when”. So now in the meantime, it is the right time to be getting ready for when the music starts again. This means taking the time now to do some things like updating your contact list, referral database, networking, etc. Just being poised and ready to go for when opportunity arises can be a real optimism and morale boost.
• Lend a helping hand. These next few months could be a great time to lean into doing some charitable work and outside volunteering. The trickle-down effect of the Haiti earthquake alone could keep us all volunteering with organizations that are supporting and assisting with relief work and supplies. Finding yourself concluding a week having done something good, while still doing your job well will make this period of the year fly by. Plus, you will have co-workers who will catch your enthusiasm for volunteering, which could be great for them too.
Before we know it, the weather will turn, the days will start to feel a little longer and we will be talking about what are the summer plans. Between now and then, make the most of this stretch so that when you come through it, you are better than when you started.