In sports, the split is the intermediate times during a race that gives athletes an understanding of how they are performing, allowing them to adjust their pace accordingly. In screenwriting, figuring out the midpoint is the key to determining where the story goes, what it means — and how to make it a success. And, in business, smart companies examine goals and performance at the half-way point to ensure that they will hit the marks set earlier in the year.
The weather across the country had turned colder…and so has the job market. Recent stats took even the White House by surprise. According to the recently released numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate edged up to 9.8 percent and the number of unemployed persons was 15.1 million in November. Scary. But, what can you do to keep warm during this extended and early freeze?
Hatch a plan.
In “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Alice asks the Cheshire Cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” to which he responds, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” When she says, “I don’t much care where,” the Cat points out, “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” Take a lesson from Lewis Carroll’s heroine: Think about what your goals are during this (seemingly) long cold employment period and start breaking down how you’d like to accomplish them. It could be as simple as hanging on to your job; it could be slightly more difficult (i.e. getting a raise). For the former, work on ways to be your own best publicist in the workplace (for example, by volunteering to work on additional projects). For the latter, start compiling evidence of the ways you add value or how you’ve saved–or made–the company money through the work you’ve done.
Help others to help yourself.
You know the saying “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”? Consider a different perspective: Do something nice for others and they will likely be more apt to do something nice for you. For example, if someone you know is a fledgling graphic designer, recommend them for a project. At a minimum, they’ll remember you. More importantly, perhaps you’ll come to mind when they come across an opportunity that would be good for you. Given that the majority of job leads and new business come through people you know, it’s smart to increase the odds.
Keep calm and carry on.
When faced with a winter of discontent, an important thing to remember is that it will ultimately turn to spring, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Take stock of what is going right in your life: family, friends, job, bank account, puppy, etc. At the risk of sounding too Holly Golightly, it’s always good to look at the bright side. There’s always someone worse off than you. While we don’t wish an unfortunate situation on anyone, it may put your own in perspective and stop you from wallowing, particularly if you are sinking into the “woe is me” portion of the broadcast.
Instead, enjoy the holidays with friends and family, have a cup of eggnog, relax and then as the New Year arrives, think about your career resolutions for the year ahead so you can start fresh and confident about what you want to accomplish in 2011.