Action plan can make the new year a success



Putting pen to paper can help you figure out your career goals for 2007.



Reflection upon the past year is normal around this time. So are making promises with regards to your health and your career. Are you happy with your job? Is this the year you find a new one or go after that promotion? I asked a few experts about how young professionals can spice up their careers this year.

"I recommend a ‘career cleanse,’" says Areva D. Martin, creator of the 12-step career empowerment program, Journey To The Top. "This is the perfect time to assess what you are doing and where you are in your career."

How do you go about this? Martin suggests putting your pen to paper and making assessment lists. First assess what new skills you have, new contacts you’ve made over the last 12 months. Once you’ve made that list, assess what you want to do differently this year.

"These two lists should be dramatically different if you are moving forward," she says. "After you know what you want to do differently in the new year, now make an action plan of the things you need to do to make it happen."

Making it happen can mean a variety of things, from quitting to working 80-hour weeks depending on what you want.

Donna Maria Coles Johnson is the founder and president of Lifestyle CEO Media. She says, "The ‘next’ opportunity could be a raise, a promotion, a new job or even leaving traditional work to start a business of your own."

Remember you must be sure you have explored every aspect of your current position before you hand in that resignation.

"Quitting a job is always tough. And in today’s ‘satisfy me now’ culture, you want to make sure that you are not jumping ship every time you don’t like something about a job. You have to ask yourself have you given the job every opportunity? Have you made the right connections? Have you invested 100 per cent of your efforts?" says Martin.

"Successful people make things happen. So even if you are not 100 per cent gratified, ask yourself what can you learn from the position and what do you need to do to position yourself to be gratified in the next position."

Perhaps a promotion would help. If so, look at the position in question and work towards it.

"The first step is setting your intentions on getting a promotion. Often people in the workforce sit back and wait for opportunities to come to them rather than proactively seeking out opportunities and pay raises," says Martin.

Johnson says to look at the job description for the promotion and make sure you qualify, then start doing everything that’s expected of the person with the job you want.

"Do this consistently for six months, and by then, you should be able to get some feedback from your boss about how you are doing in your job," says Johnson. "A job is more than a job. It’s an opportunity to expand your horizons."