Res­o­lu­tions go bust? Don’t worry — July’s got your back

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - JOBS & WORK - — Je­sus Bravo, clin­i­cal as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of management at the Car­son Col­lege of Business, Washington State Uni­ver­sity, Pull­man, Washington — Marco Buscaglia, Ca­reers

Jan­uary 1: “I’m get­ting to work 20 min­utes early ev­ery day this year. And I’m go­ing to lose 20 pounds.”

Jan­uary 2: “Start­ing to­mor­row.”

Jan­uary 3: “OK, start­ing to­mor­row. For real this time. And let’s shoot for 10 pounds. That’ll be a good start.”

Jan­uary 4: “I’ll be in the of­fice by 9:30. Wait, muffins? Maybe 9:45.”

New Year’s res­o­lu­tions can be sim­ple or elab­o­rate, in­signif­i­cant or im­por­tant, spon­ta­neous or planned. Just don’t ex­pect them to be the one thing that’s more im­por­tant than the others: kept.

While work-re­lated res­o­lu­tions aren’t nec­es­sar­ily bad, they can cast an air of fail­ure over a new year if they’re not kept. So why do we bother?

Well, for starters, they do help pro­vide a blue­print for our fu­ture be­hav­ior. They can also help us move for­ward with our ca­reers by re­mind­ing us to forge ahead in­stead of stag­nat­ing on the here and now. So maybe the bet­ter ques­tion is why do they start in Jan­uary?

If you’ve al­ready failed in your res­o­lu­tion en­deavor or didn’t bother to make one in the first place, July wel­comes you and your com­mit­ment to im­prove­ment with open arms. And look, there’s the sun, which makes the whole res­o­lu­tion a bit more palat­able than those grey days of ice and snow in Jan­uary.

Not sure of an ap­pro­pri­ate mid-year res­o­lu­tion? Don’t over­think it. Just choose some­thing that can help you im­prove your profession­al and per­sonal state as the year con­tin­ues. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Find some men­tors

“Con­sider find­ing men­tors that can give you valu­able ca­reer in­for­ma­tion, ex­pand your so­cial net­works and help with hon­ing profession­al skills. To max­i­mize mentor re­la­tion­ships, first lay out spe­cific goals for your cur­rent work and fu­ture as­pi­ra­tions then choose multiple men­tors that align with those goals. In­ter­nal men­tors can help with or­ga­ni­za­tional issues and op­por­tu­ni­ties while ex­ter­nal men­tors can of­fer insights into larger ca­reer issues. Men­tors can also help ex­pand your profession­al net­work and pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for you to gain first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence in a field of in­ter­est. Goal set­ting, ca­reer plan­ning and role mod­el­ing are all ways that men­tor­ships can help open your mind to new op­por­tu­ni­ties and ex­pe­ri­ences you may have not oth­er­wise con­sid­ered.”

Words of wis­dom

“Read one book a quar­ter that will help you in your ca­reer. Start a book club at work and you can all ex­pe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits of growth. Book clubs keep you ac­count­able.” — Deanna O’Con­nell, pres­i­dent, Red Kite Re­cruit­ing, Chicago

Work well with others

“Spend more time with peo­ple and teams I don’t work with di­rectly. As CEO, a very small per­cent­age of the com­pany ac­tu­ally reports to me and I can be­come a lit­tle de­tached from the issues and chal­lenges the broader com­pany is fac­ing. I re­solve to set up weekly lunches with teams so I can spend more time just talk­ing and learn­ing about how dif­fer­ent parts of the com­pany are work­ing.” — Harj Tag­gar, CEO, Triple­byte, San Fran­cisco

Just say no

“I have a great deal of dif­fi­culty in say­ing no or in of­fer­ing an al­ter­nate so­lu­tion when asked to per­form some ser­vice and that dif­fi­culty has in­creased ten­fold over the last decade. I changed jobs, go­ing from a north­east uni­ver­sity to a south­ern uni­ver­sity, in 2004. To coun­ter­act feel­ings of in­ad­e­quacy, I im­me­di­ately sought to be elected vice pres­i­dent of a national or­ga­ni­za­tion, and I was. I vol­un­teered for any­thing — noth­ing was off the ta­ble if it would make me look good at work and con­vince my ad­min­is­tra­tion that I was a good hire. Ul­ti­mately, af­ter some 10-plus years, I have re­al­ized I was at­tempt­ing to con­vince my­self that I am ca­pa­ble, com­pe­tent and able. There­fore, I want to com­mit my­self to chang­ing my work life — to stop trying so hard to prove some­thing to my­self, to learn how to say no and not feel guilty or afraid.” — Dr. K. Vir­ginia Hemby, pro­fes­sor, Depart­ment of Mar­ket­ing, Jones Col­lege of Business, Mid­dle Ten­nessee State Uni­ver­sity, Murfrees­boro, Ten­nessee

Day by day

“While I don’t be­lieve there is such a thing as truly achiev­ing work-life bal­ance when you’re a full-time em­ployee and a par­ent, it doesn’t stop me from at­tempt­ing to earn the ti­tle of Su­per Mom and Star Em­ployee si­mul­ta­ne­ously and on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. And frankly, these at­tempts aren’t nec­es­sar­ily mak­ing me a bet­ter par­ent or em­ployee; rather, they can leave me feel­ing drained and de­feated. This year, I’m go­ing to try to be less critical and more ac­cept­ing of my­self. There will be good and bad days when it comes to bal­anc­ing my ca­reer and fam­ily, and that’s OK. I will try to cel­e­brate the good days and also be more tol­er­ant of those not-so good days.” — Amanda Au­gus­tine, ca­reer ad­vice ex­pert, TopRe­sume, New York

What bet­ter to do in the mid­dle of sum­mer than to get se­ri­ous about your Jan­uary job res­o­lu­tions?

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