This time of the year, many people on the job hunt close up shop for the year, certain that no forward progress can be made between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  This is simply not true. We all may be eager to put 2020 behind us, but there is still good work to be done to build a fulfilling life and career. Even in December, there are intentional steps you can take to put yourself in a position to further those things that are important to you—both personally and in your work.

Picture your future.

Take these quieter weeks to consider what matters most to you in your next job opportunity.  Sit down with your “advisory board”—that includes your spouse, perhaps your children, and those who care about you and will be impacted by your career— and determine the top 12 things you want in your next career move.  Here are some questions to explore together:

  • What motivates me?
  • What kind of mission and culture do I want?
  • What sort of person do I want to work for?
  • What management style allows me to flourish?
  • Do I want a culture that values relationships above results?
  • What kind of lifestyle do I want outside of work?
  • What kind of community do I want to live in?
  • What kind of weather do I want?

Make sure your top 12 takes into account your priorities beyond just the job—work-life balance matters. If you focus on one but exclude the other, you’ll eventually fail in both.  Once you’ve taken time to determine what matters most to you and those close to you, put together a plan for the new year that will allow you to see the results that you want.

Invest in relationships.

December is an excellent month for networking. Many people are taking time away from the office and have more availability.  This year in particular, people are eager to have conversations because they’ve been so isolated.  However, this isn’t the time to call in favors. Your only agenda in December should be to deepen relationships.

Reach out to those who have been helpful in the past, and say thank you. Ask questions about how this year has affected them.  Call those who provided encouragement or influenced you in a positive way in 2020, and let them know that they’ve made an impact on you in a challenging year.  Think about who you need to develop a relationship within the coming year, and reach out to them too, just to say, “Happy Holidays.”  Make sure you keep track of the information each person shares.

December doesn’t have to be a wasted month in your career transition.  Take time to rest, reflect, spend time with family, and enjoy the season—by all means!  But this is also a wonderful time of year to contemplate what matters most to you in your career and in your life, and to deepen relationships.  You will be better prepared to move forward into the new year with renewed energy in your career transition journey and dedication to building a life that matches your values.

Author: Jim Wiederhold

Jim believes his 39 years of experience--particularly his more than 26 years in healthcare--has prepared him well for what he does. His wealth of experience spans key areas, including finance, operations, management, leadership, sales and sales management, corporate, contingency, contractual and retained recruiting, outplacement and transition work and executive coaching.