The holiday season may feel a little slower in 2020, which could provide extra time to reflect on the past twelve months of your professional life and tackle some to-dos in your career. Create new intentions and prepare for a smooth return to work next year, wherever that may be.
As you might use the end of the year to straighten up your desk in an office, Salemi says to do the same for your work-from-home space. Clear out your junk drawer, shred older paperwork or get rid of books you no longer need, for example.
It’s also a good time to do a bigger audit of your setup, Salemi adds. Think through what would make your workspace more efficient and comfortable. Is the size of your desk working for you? What about your chair? Do you need better lighting, and can that be done with a lamp or by moving to a different room in your home?
Also think about what equipment you can get covered through your employer, such as part of your Wi-Fi bill or a printer. In the same vein, Salemi adds to submit any office expenses you need to file before the end of December. “Now that the dust has settled, you may have some breathing room to think, ‘Where do I see my career going in 2021 and beyond?’” Salemi says.
In the next year, with consideration to the job market and the pandemic’s impact on your line of work, think about whether that’s attainable by getting a new job, negotiating a raise, moving up in title or landing a performance-based bonus.
Schedule 30 minutes with your boss to discuss your goals, Salemi says. Come prepared with what you feel is your plan for getting there — maybe you want to become certified in a new skill or start a new project — and get your manager’s feedback on what you need to complete or demonstrate to move into the next level.
Now is also the time to review your accomplishments and make the case for a raise, Salemi says. “Be prepared with talking points and testimonials” about your successes, she adds. Limited interaction during the pandemic has shrunk the average person’s social networks by 17% — or roughly 200 people — according to research from Yale School of Management professor Marissa King.
People tend to only interact with their closest colleagues on a daily basis. What people are missing, then, are casual run-ins with acquaintances and collaborating with people from different departments. That makes this time of year a good opportunity to reach out to people in your organization that you’ve met and worked with before but maybe haven’t heard from in a few months.
If you hate traditional networking, King says, reframe your ask and think about what you can give to them by reaching out. Maybe it’s an expression of gratitude for their help on a project this year, or a feeling of inclusion by wishing them well during the holidays. “Everyone is starved for social connection,” King says. “Get over the idea of networking being dirty.”