First published Monday, January 13, 2014
One small change can make a big difference.
The start of the new year tends to bring with it various resolutions and intentions from all kinds of sources, many sounding much the same as 12 months ago, and no doubt by around the 3rd week of January, most of them will have either been forgotten, paused or quite simply binned. Many people then get into a bit of a ‘downer’ for having ‘failed’ to meet their goal, and so combined with the grey weather and another week until pay day, it can seem really hard going.
Whether you are looking for a new position to move to, been looking to get back into the work place for some time, or looking to recruit new staff, how you respond to all kinds of things, whether resolutions, the weather or that annoying dip in the bank balance, will all come down to one thing. Attitude.
People can be very good at coming up with various reasons (or excuses) for a poor or negative attitude: “There’s no jobs out there at the right level for me”, “I don’t have the right skills for that post”, “I can’t find people who understand what we do”, “I need a pay rise to cover all these bills”. We could spend some time looking at each of the above statements and coming up with alternatives, but ultimately it will boil down to attitude, and a need for individuals to take personal responsibility for themselves and their actions.
If you work in a particularly specialised field or sector, it may be that new opportunities are scarce, but use that to your advantage – review your CV, make sure it’s highlighting your capabilities, knowledge and skills. Contact businesses you’re interested in working for, and sell yourself to them. They may not have a vacancy right now, but sometimes it may be that they’ve not identified that opportunity as yet.
Not got the right skills? Go to college, retrain, challenge yourself to learn something new. Not only will you gain the skills you need, you also demonstrate a willingness to learn new things. You might even enjoy it! Short of cash? Review your spending, set a budget and keep to it. Useful skills for any job, demonstrating self control, awareness of limitations, ability to plan and so on. If you believe that you are worth more than you’re being paid, ask for a meeting with your line manager, and put together a well thought out and reasoned explanation for why you should be considered for a pay rise. That obviously won’t guarantee a boost to the pay cheque, but if you are able to show how you add value to your organisation, it might help your cause.
If you can’t find people who understand what you do, maybe you’re not communicating clearly enough what it is you do. If a company has a very clear set of values, easily identifiable objectives, a straightforward mission statement, or strong brand identity, people are far more likely to understand what the company does. Ask a trusted colleague or friend from outside the business to give you some direct and honest feedback, to help you understand what needs to be clarified. It’s easy to lose sight of the little things when you’re busy getting on with the day job.
So, regardless of resolutions to go to the gym, eat less, read more, give up smoking, or whatever other goal you’ve set, spend a little time working on the one thing that is solely reliant on you. Your attitude. Look for the positive (yes it can be hard at times). Every little ‘up’ moment you find, every little thing that raises a smile or makes you appreciate what you can do will help improve your attitude towards so many things, and when you do achieve those extra skills, secure a pay rise, fill the vacancy, give yourself a pat on the back for doing it!