I've always been envious of the fact that my wife is a teacher. It's not the summers off or the chance to "make a difference." What has my admiration is the fact that each school year has a beginning, middle, and end. Most professions work in a never-ending cycle without any sort of regimented time frame. That means it's important to create your own time benchmarks and hold yourself accountable to them. With half the year already over and out, I suggest the following midyear checklist:
• Plant seeds for a raise or promotion. Many people wait for the beginning of the year to make their requests. But by then it's too late, as most budgets are prepared months in advance.
• Have you met the yearly goals you set for yourself? There's plenty of year left to make those long-forgotten New Year's resolutions a reality.
• Put in for vacation time. If you're not going to enjoy yourself during the summer, when will you? Don't lose days at the end of the year.
• Relationship inventory. Assess how you are communicating and getting along with colleagues on all levels.
• Attend at least one company BBQ, picnic, charity walk, softball game, etc. These small social events can lead to big opportunities.
• Update your résumé, and send it! Even if you're not looking for a job, it's important to stay fresh on techniques and keep your interview skills sharp.
• Odds are that your fiscal year is at least halfway through. Have you spent your department's budget wisely? Make sure you've spent the allotted funds. Now is the time to start tying up loose ends. Begin concentrating on your needs and requests for next year.
• Assess your burnout quotient. Take a good look in the mirror, and figure out the toll your gig is taking on you.
• Initiate contact with a long-lost contact or someone you've simply neglected.
That's my list. Yours may vary. What's on your midyear career checklist?
After holding down various media jobs, including stops at MTV Networks and Fox News, Andrew G.R. was completely discouraged—not only about his own career but about the lack of job resources that truly spoke to him. Enter Jobacle.com, the employment blog and podcast designed to Make Work Better.