Fashion dictates planning for the upcoming year on New Year’s Eve—that’s if your fashion sense tends towards procrastination. But, is the second week of November, especially a month dead set on maximizing the mildness of the season, the time to begin thinking about 2016?
If you’ve played the resolutions game with a fresh new calendar staring you in the face, then you know that the first six weeks of any new year is the duration of most people’s plan for success, and their implementation phase. How do I know this? Past experience. Also, I used to be a member of Planet Fitness in Auburn for a couple of years while working out of the CareerCenter on the other side of the river. I got to see firsthand that six-week spike played out with a flurry of new members crowding the gym during some New Year’s promotion. By the middle of February, however, people were falling by the wayside and by the end of the month, there was no more waiting for machines. Come March, it was the same old regulars grunting and sweating at 5:30 in the morning, another great anecdotal example that the wait-until-the-start-of-the-year approach has serious shortcomings.
In considering the past year, I now realize how often and mistakenly have characterized it as an unsuccessful year in my own perception. I’m now recognizing that this hasn’t been an accurate frame. A better way of looking at the past 11 months might be one of gaining valuable experience and some new perspective. The key to maintaining a success mindset involves building on a foundation set on these essential learnings.
Here’s another case in point. I spent seven years involved in workforce training. While the majority of it was with one of the local workforce investment boards (LWIBs, or WIBs), I directed a statewide project that the other three boards were well aware of and had adopted it in their region of the state. It was called WorkReady—you may have heard of it. Lord knows, I brought an evangelical-type zeal to promoting it across the state. I’ve also spearheaded a couple of other additional projects on my own, post-LWIB that dovetailed nicely with that previous experience.
Several weeks ago, I noticed that one of the state’s four LWIBs, this one located in a swanky former mill, one town over from me, had a position that was a solid match for my skillset. I assumed that applying for the position that clearly matched my own demonstrated skills and abilities would at the very least, warrant an interview. How wrong I was.
Instead, I received the perfunctory, “thanks, but no thanks” email stating that other candidates were more qualified. It read,
Thank you for your recent interest in the Project Manager position at XXXX.
This is a unique position with emphasis on Career Pathways, Industry Partnerships and implementing sector-based projects. CCWI was very fortunate to receive multiple promising responses to the Project Manager position posting.
Therefore, after reviewing the applications we regret to inform you that you were not selected for an interview.
Thank you once again for your interest in XXXX and we wish you good luck in your job search.
When your professional experience is spit upon, especially by the very people who benefited from your efforts in the past, it’s easy to feel slighted—maybe even question your own recollection of the past—not to mention even allowing bitterness to creep in—that’s what could have happened in the past.
As I work on tomorrow’s blog post (here on Monday night), my reaction to that experience is now, “whatever.” It’s their loss.
Instead, rather than being locked into a demanding 9-5 routine that may or may not have any real impact and offer employers any value, I’ll simply remain on the interstate of reinvention, swinging into the passing lane. While it’s sometimes tempting to tilt at short-term solutions, I must remind myself to remain steadfast and set my face like flint (now there’s a powerful scriptural reference) , not losing sight of the goals set more than a decade ago. In fact, I continue to experience late season success as a writer, with my byline showing up in places that I only dreamed about when I first started freelancing back in 2004.
While it’s November (not January), I’m assessing my strengths and setting some things in motion for the first of the year. I continue to believe that diversification and “poking the box” (a Seth Godin term) is what I need to remain focused on.
What I learned from 2015 is that success is more apt to materialize by doing my groundwork ahead of time. So my focus here in early-November and into December is on lining up gigs for the first of the year—and not expecting that something will magically end up in my lap in January, February, and March. That would betray the reality of what success entails.