30 Ways You Can Fall in Love with Your Career in 2017


It's Time for a Better Career Change!

Don't Put Your Happiness on Hold!

Start Now!
by Amber Beam in Professional Development
January 5, 2017

Surrounded by the buzz of a new year, you’ve decided your professional life is ready for a major overhaul. 2017 will be the year of Y-O-U. You’re going to stop free-falling into the career abyss and chart a path to bigger and better professional growth.

There are many paths to a better career: the scenic route, the straight and narrow, and the meandering. And, let’s not forget the most well-known – vertical. No matter your path, my goal is for you to fall in love with your career by connecting what can be mundane into meaningful and fulfilling work. With over two dozen ideas for finding career success, this article is sure to inspire and facilitate your next career move, be it a promotion, a side-hustle, or volunteering. It’s your time. Time for the career you’ve been waiting for.

Learn New Skills

Keep the fire burning for your current role by adding new skills and expertise to your knowledge base and resume.

1. Enroll in a Free/Low Cost Online Class

In the age of the internet, there are many “MOOC” (Massive Open Online Course) providers. Check out sites like Lynda or Teachable to see courses, or find an informative TED Talk playlist.

2. Check Out Course Listings in Your Field Offered by a Local College

Local universities and community colleges often offer courses that are open to non-full-time students (like professionals who want to take a course in the evening). Google your local universities to browse Spring Semester courses. Most offer enrollment through mid-January.

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3. Search the Internet for Conferences & Academies You Can Attend

Most conferences and academies have announced their 2017 dates. Google your industry plus conferences to see what events are happening – and where. Many of these conferences and academies also offer an “online” option, where you can watch the speakers and talks online at a discounted rate.

4. Research Your Company’s Professional Development Policy/Perk

Most companies have some sort of professional development stipend for each employee, or a policy for each employee who wants to invest in their professional development. Talk to your HR department to see what your company has in place. This knowledge is power the next time you find a good investment for your professional development.

5. Write Your Monthly & Quarterly Professional Development Plan for 2017

Set aside 30-60 minutes to write down one thing you’d like to accomplish each month or quarter, to advance your professional career. From conferences to classes, include all these things on a single piece of paper, and hang it near your desk as a reminder.

Do More of What You Love

Adding more work to your plate isn’t a burden when it’s work you love doing.

6. Lead a Project in an Area You’re Passionate About

As Q1/2017 projects launch in companies around the world, make sure you volunteer to lead the projects you’re passionate about.

7. Volunteer to Join a Team Doing Work You Like

If you can’t lead the team or project due to constraints in your role, volunteer to be part of the team working on these projects or goals. You can add this into your daily and weekly schedule without interfering with your normal responsibilities.

8. Talk to Your Boss About Your Strengths & Assignments that Fit Your Strengths

Schedule time with your boss to talk about your strengths and how you can add more assignments to your workload that use your strengths. Unsure what your strengths are? Take the StrengthsFinder test. (Need help? I offer a 60 minute jumpstart call to help with this.)

9. Talk to Customers About Doing More Work for Them

If you work in a customer-facing role and love the work you do, talk to your top customers about how you can do more work for them. They may have insightful ways you can support the professional relationship outside your normal responsibilities.

Pass On Your Knowledge

Reengage with subjects you’re passionate about by teaching them to others.

10. Mentor Someone Interested in Your Role

A good mentor is hard to find – so make yourself more accessible to those who might want your mentorship. Let others in your company know you’re willing to provide them with insight and guidance, then make time in your schedule to do so.

11. Speak to College Students in Your Field

College professors often look for speakers to come in and give their students “real world” knowledge. Reach out to professors in your community and see if any are looking for someone in your field to speak to their class.

12. Teach a Colleague Something You’re Interested In

Finding an opportunity to teach a colleague can be as simple as asking “would you like to know more about this?” when they ask for your help.

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13. Start a “Lunchtime Roundtable” in Your Office Where Speakers can Share Ideas

Some offices allow employees to gather in a conference room for lunch once per week to have someone share insights into their area of interest. See if your company allows this, and volunteer to be the first speaker.

Widen Your Network

Connecting with others who share your passion is a good way to amplify your passion everyday.

14. Join a Professional Association for Your Role/Industry

Almost every industry has a professional association, so spend time on Google looking for relevant ones for you. Compare costs and benefits, then put in an application to join as a member in 2017.

15. Go to a Networking Event in Your Community

Try checking Meetup to see what networking events are already happening in your community.  Even if it’s not in the same industry, you might connect with like-minded people from peripheral areas of your roles.

16. Interview Someone in Your Dream Role

Not quite doing what you love? Find someone who is, and ask them for an hour of their time to interview them and learn more about the role. LinkedIn can be a helpful tool in finding and connecting with these people.

17. Interview a Leader in Your Field

Industry leaders can be hard to connect with, but their expertise and knowledge can be invaluable for helping you map our your own career. Can’t get someone at the top? Try connecting with your boss’s boss, or even higher up the chain.

18. Shadow Someone in Your Company 

If you see someone else in your company with an intriguing role or responsibility, ask to shadow them one day. Engage your curiosity to learn more and you may find a new area of passion.

19. Shadow a Customer You Want to Work With More

We all have customers we’d love to learn more from. Take the time to shadow one of your customers. Learn about their business and how you can help them even more.

Enhance Your Introspection

Gain insight into your own motivations and values to understand the root of your professional happiness.

20. Describe When You Felt “Good” At Your Job

Tap into a time when you felt accomplished in your role as it currently exists. Ask yourself who was there? How and when was the project accomplished? Write down your answers and spend time thinking about why these elements made you feel successful.

21. Practice Daily Gratitude

At the end of each work day, write down one thing you are grateful for in your role. Leave this near your computer so you see it the following morning. Continue the practice for one week. Save all of these notes and reflect back on them at the end of the week. Bonus points if you can keep it up for one month.

22. Make a List of What You Like to Do

It may sound obvious, but it can be helpful to spend time writing down the specific things you actually like doing at work. This list can help crystallize ways you can do more of these tasks in the future.

23. Create a Mind Map of Your Skills 

Create a Mind Map of all of your professional skills. Connect related skills and identify areas where you can continue to improve. Hang or store your Mind Map somewhere near your work space, so you can refer to it frequently.

24. Write a List of Your Top 5 Favorite Responsibilities – Do One Everyday

Instead of worrying about the tasks you hate, write down the five tasks or responsibilities you most enjoy at work. Start scheduling time each Monday to plan the week ahead, and as you do, schedule one of these into each day.

Use Your Skills Outside the Office

Put your passion to work outside the office with a volunteer opportunity.

25. Volunteer with a Local/Community Project

Put your skills to work outside the office by finding a volunteer project. United Way offers a powerful search tool to find charities and volunteer opportunities in your community, including some that may use your professional skills or personal passion.

26. Volunteer at a School Helping Young Students

While you may not get to apply your highest-level expertise with students, volunteering in the classroom can be a powerful way to remind you what you love about your work, and give back to the next generation.

27. Volunteer to Connect with Elders in Your Community

Find opportunities to connect with elders from your community – you may even find opportunities to connect with individuals who formerly worked in similar roles to you. This is a great chance to learn from people who’ve been there before, and to provide company to those who may not have as much social interaction as they’d like.

Jumpstart Your Side Hustle

Give your creative idea a chance to fly by carving out space for it.

28. Start a New Account for Your Business on Your Favorite Social Media Channel

Almost every business needs a community to survive and thrive. Start building yours by launching a social media channel to share information and value with your potential customers. Unsure how to start? Check out this great guide from Social Media Examiner.

29. Write a Business Plan for Your Idea using the Lean Startup Methodology

Learn about the Lean Startup methodology, then start planning how your side hustle can go from hobby to business using these techniques. This might be an ongoing task as your learn more about your business strategies and how you can bootstrap a business starting now.

30. Sell Your Service to Family & Friends to Test and Validate Your Idea

You may already know how you plan to launch and market your product, but it’s always good to get feedback before you start. Reach out to friends or family and offer them a massive discount to try your offering and give you honest feedback about it.

Wow – that’s a LOT! You probably didn’t realize there are so many ways you can do more of the work you love, each and every day.

To help get you started scheduling these activities in your work day and week, I’ve created the Fall in Love With Your Career Action Pack. This workbook will take you through four weeks of activities to help keep you motivated and start 2017 on a great professional note!

Click Here to Get the Free Action Pack

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It's Time for a Better Career Change!

Don't Put Your Happiness on Hold!

Start Now!