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By Terry Lende, careers specialist

In the past year I have written about many of the tactical aspects of getting work – how to conduct a thorough job search, creating a resume and cover letter, preparing for the interview. For the final article of the year, I want to step out of the day-to-day elements of work and take a broader view.

As I have said before, you can go out there and 'find a job' … or consider instead an approach to help you to find meaningful work now and in the future.

While the New Year is a time to set goals for the coming year, it is also an opportunity for reflection of the past year.

Even if your company doesn’t do a formal review, I encourage you to complete your own performance review. A regular 'conversation' with yourself will help you in managing your career – both for present and future plans.

As the world of work continues to evolve, so has the employer/employee contract. Restructuring, reengineering, right sizing – call it what you will, a job for life is the exception rather than the rule. The employer/employee contract lasts only as long as the needs of both parties are met. Increasingly, employees are responsible for their own career management. This shift in attitude necessitates a change in thinking from a 'worker bee' to a 'value add' worker.

Consider the following topics as an aid to your personal career management review.

  • Quality: Do I come to work every day committed to do my best work? Do I take pride in what I do? If not, what can I do differently? If the work no longer engages me, are there opportunities in other areas or would further education provide different options?
  • Innovation: Perhaps it is not a change in what you do, but rather a change in how you do it. Often the best ideas come from the people actually doing the work. Use your expertise and share it.
  • Teamwork: Work satisfaction is comprised of many elements, including the relationship we have with our co-workers. Share your ideas and be open to the feedback and opinions of others.
  • Attitude: Skills can be taught. Attitude is your responsibility. We all have choices. A positive and enthusiastic attitude can make the difference in your career progression. Get involved in special projects that take you out of your comfort zone. Expand your knowledge and get to know more about your company and your colleagues.
  • Adaptability: Our work environment continues to change. Can you keep up? Are you getting pulled along or on the leading edge? Like it or not, nothing remains the same. Use that change to generate opportunities for yourself.

And finally, take charge of your career. Be the 'value add' worker, not the 'worker bee'. The benefits of managing your own career can result in greater work satisfaction and improved opportunities for the future.

I wish you all the best!

More great career tips from Terry Lende:

Terry Lende is Vice President Professional Services & Operations with global talent mobility firm Lee Hecht Harrison, providing operational leadership for career transition services in Western Canada. She is an accomplished business leader with 25 years’ experience in program development, facilitation, client relationship management, training and coaching at all organizational levels.