Back to School Season for your Career!

Even if you may not actually be going back to school, the days after Labor Day somehow make you feel like it’s back to school time. Am I right?!

Is it just me, or is there something in the air that makes you feel like buying a new planner, maybe some new colored pencils, or a new fall work outfit?

To me, early September has always been a time to organize my life, get clear on priorities, and plan for the future. For many, it’s a time of change, new beginnings or new routines.

Here are five helpful questions to ask yourself about your career to gear up for the new season:

1. What’s my Next Goal?

What goal do you have for yourself for the remainder of the calendar year, or for the next full year of work?

With fall around the corner, many of us feel like we should be learning something new or trying out something new. 

Maybe in your personal life, you’re trying a new gym class or joining a book club. But what are your professional goals? Is there a new skill you want to learn or work on? Is there a project you want to get on?

2. Am I Ready for my End of Year Performance Review?

Not every company does an end of year performance review, but many do. Do you feel ready for it?

What did you do really well this year?
What are some of your big accomplishments?
Where did you add the most value for the team?
What do you want to focus on for next year?
What skills do you want to develop over the next year?

These are all questions your boss might ask you. Do you feel ready to answer them and really demonstrate how you added value over the last year? If not, keep them top of mind over the next few months so you’re ready to hit the ball outta the park with your answers when you get them.

3. Who do I Want to Meet or Re-Connect With?

Networking receptions, workshops and other events ramp up in the fall. Time to put some of these on your calendar to continue to make connections, learn new things and build your network. 

Over the summer, things often slow down because of vacations and our connections sometimes get lost. Who are those people who you want to re-connect with?

We talk a lot about your ‘Informal Advisory Board’ with Pivot Journeys. These are your your go-to people who bolster your career and guide and support you through your growth. The fall is a great time to reconnect with them and check in.

4. What am I Looking Forward to?

Many of us feel a letdown when the end of summer comes. If you were able to take some vacation, it’s over, and who knows when the next one is. That’s enough to make anyone feel pretty bummed.

It’s always good to have something you’re looking forward to.  Something to look forward to at work?! Sounds like a crazy question I know, but bear with me…

Who's the new coworker who you're interested to get to know?

What project is coming up that would add some new skills to your portfolio?

Is there a conference or work-related event that might get you jazzed?
(Check out our Career Mapping Workshop, Strengths-Based Management Workshop, or Life Design Series.)  

Is there something you could do to your desk to spice it up and add some flare to energize you? Maybe a photo from your summer vaca, fun new colored pens, dog shaped post-it notes?

There’s gotta be something you’re at least a little excited about to make you less grumpy this back to school season!

5. Where do I want to be in 2020?

This may sound crazy, since we still have four months left in 2019, but if you are planning on making a career change in 2020, you need to start thinking and planning for it now.

Finding a new job takes time even when you know exactly what you’re looking for. And when you’re not 100% sure what you’re searching for, you need to allow time for reflection, exploration and information gathering.

But there’s no need to get anxious and stressed about it as long as you start planning with ample time.

To me, fall has always been a time to organize my life, get clear on priorities, and plan for the future. For many it’s a time of change, new beginnings or new routines.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

Make the most of it.