Your career can use some spring cleaning


Spring at last! Kind of makes you want to clean out your closets and wash your windows, doesn’t it? Well, almost. It’s also the time of year to clean up your career.

Here are a few ideas to freshen up your career or make a clean sweep altogether.

§      Scrub up your job satisfaction. If you’ve been crabbing about your job, now is the time to begin the process of change. The summer months are a good time to network. Once a week, call a colleague or schedule a lunch with someone in a related industry. By the time fall rolls around, you will be able to make a clear-headed decision and may even have some job offers.

§      Clean up your attitude. If you’ve been griping about your job but you don’t want to look for another position, it’s time to suck it up and do something about it. Your coworkers are probably sick to death of your fault finding and management bashing. Schedule a meeting with your manager and discuss ways you can make some changes in your own job. Resist the urge to point at everyone else and start with yourself.

§      Freshen up your workspace. Update the family photos on your desk, clean up the piles that are accumulating, throw out old files that are littering your cabinets. Bring in a fresh plant. A new environment can do a lot to revive your spirit.

§      Sort out your calendar. Get a grip on your schedule before the summer months slip away. Are you planning a summer trip? Is there a chance you can take off early on Friday’s? If so, block off the time now so appointments don’t sneak into that space. Does your son have soccer games on Thursday nights? Maybe your co-workers have evening activities they would like to schedule, as well. Talking about it now will lock in a coverage system that will save everyone’s sanity.

§      Dust off your resume. You know it’s a smart thing to do, but it’s easy to put off if there isn’t an imminent job offer in the wings. The benefit of revising your resume each year is that you are less likely to forget your accomplishments and you are also ready before everyone else is when something interesting presents itself.

§      Wise up about your choice of colleagues. Like it or not, you are judged by the company you keep. Take an objective look at the people you lunch with, socialize with, talk to in the break room, e-mail notes to and network with. Do they reflect your, values, work interests and career goals? Expand your circle to include someone you admire.

§      Clear out a nagging project. Just hunker down and finish it. You’ll feel sooo good when it’s finally done.

§      Clean up a conflict with a colleague. Start with an e-mail and ask if you can have some time to talk. Explain that you would like to take some steps toward finding a win/win solution. When you meet, focus on what the other person’s goals are and look for ways each of you can get what they want.

§      Clean up your reputation. How do people describe you? Sarcastic? Analytical? Procrastinator? Social? What are they really saying? Sometimes "sarcastic" really means nasty, "analytical" means poor communication skills, "procrastinator" means unreliable, and "social" means the same thing it did in teacher’s conferences.

§      Freshen up your personal image. When was the last time you changed your hairstyle or updated your wardrobe? We all know we are judged by our physical image. An image consultant colleague of mine once held up five men’s ties in a workshop and asked the audience to draw conclusions about their personalities. Yikes! I’m sure their reaction caused the men in the audience to run to their closets for a cleaning!

§      Revisit your relationships with your family. We all use the "B" word but few of us really have the balance we’re looking for. When my son was young and we’d have something good to eat, he’d say, "MMMmmm, just like mom used to open." Ask each member of your family what they want most from you. Maybe it’s a family activity on the weekends, maybe it’s less nagging. Maybe they just want to sit and talk around a home cooked dinner.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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