Happy New Job in 2007

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN
  • Updated: September 16, 2009 - 3:12 PM

According to the FirstGov.gov Web site, three of the most popular New Year's resolutions are losing weight, saving money and getting a better job.

According to the FirstGov.gov Web site, three of the most popular New Year's resolutions are losing weight, saving money and getting a better job.

So why is it that, come February 1, most of us are still chubby, broke and not doing work we love? Could there be a better way to finally get a new job this new year?

The answer is ... maybe. It all depends on you. After all, the best advice in the world is useless if you don't follow it.

But, if you're willing to change your attitude, change your actions and persist for at least 21 days -- the time it takes to form a new habit, according to many self-development experts -- you may find yourself in a new and better job by February 1.

Here are two paths to that new job you've resolved to get this new year ...

1) Start where you are

If you've ever read Russell Conwell's "Acres of Diamonds," you know that riches may be hiding right under your feet (and if you haven't read it, go Google it now).

Most folks who resolve to find a better job do so without first taking a long, unbiased look around their own workplace. But wait - your dream job might be found at your current employer! All it takes is a little imagination to uncover it.

Example: Years ago I worked with Jane, who dreamed of becoming a graphic designer. But she was an administrative assistant. Did she despair or bemoan her lot in life? No. She got busy hanging around with graphic designers, learning the software, taking on small projects, demonstrating her skills, until one day -- presto! She was promoted to graphic designer.

You can do this, too, and work your way into almost any job, in almost any industry. Why not have a meeting with your boss this week and discuss your plans? If you get an encouraging response, get busy learning the skills you'll need. If you meet with resistance, then you can start looking for a new employer.

But you'll never know if your dream job lies hidden just a few cubicles away unless you look around ... and ask around.

2) Take small steps

Just as you can't lose 24 pounds in one day, don't resolve to find your dream job in 24 hours or even 24 days. Unrealistic deadlines produce more frustration than results.

Instead, try small, incremental steps.

After all, you didn't gain all those extra pounds overnight, did you? No. It happened over time, almost imperceptibly. An extra helping of pancakes here, an ice cream sundae there, a few missed trips to the gym and, before you knew it, your pants no longer fit.

Research by Dr. Robert Maurer, based on the principles of kaizen (the industrial science of continuous improvement), can help you take the right small steps toward you next job.

Example: By asking yourself one small question every day, such as, "If finding a new job were my top priority, what would I be thinking and doing now?" you can train your subconscious mind to deliver useful answers, because the brain loves questions.

According to Dr. Maurer, small incremental steps work because our brain is hard-wired to resist change. Even thinking about a major life change, such as finding a new job, can trigger the brain's fight-or-flight response, which in turn shuts down creativity and thinking -- and you get stuck. Small changes, however, can bypass that automatic defense.

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