Happy Labor Day! I’m honored that you took a moment to read my blog today. Because as you read this, the last hours of summer are sprinting through the hourglass. You would probably be better off using this time to soak up some sunshine. Either way, that healthy summer tan is going to start fading at sundown. Sorry. I’ll try to make this brief.
Labor Day is for you.
Labor Day is YOUR national holiday. It is a day to honor the work you do. Yes, you!
According to The US Labor Department (Labor Day’s Parents), Labor Day constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
Good for you, Worker Bee! Have some honey! Take the day off. Eat a hotdog, drink a Miller Lite and blow off some steam by throwing some bags in a hole.
This is a great time to reflect on your career.
Labor Day is also the perfect day for your annual career evaluation. It’s like a mammogram or prostate check for you career. Only you get to keep your clothes on, if you want.
Careers are long and complicated journeys. Along the way we often become so consumed with our daily work that we don’t think about the big picture.
It’s easy to focus on the days and lose site of the career.
I took the time to chart my ideal career course at the beginning of my journey. If you haven’t done that yet, do it today. Determine all the things you want to accomplish in your career AND what the end looks like.
I had a vision for my entire career from the starting blocks. Luckily for me, my wife Dawn always seems to know when it has been too long since I have revisited my career map.
At those times she poses these two simple questions:
- Are you where you want to be?
- Where are you going next?
These questions have been extremely helpful to me over the past 15 years. Here is how they can be helpful to you.
6 ways these questions help your career.
- They remind you that you have a career plan (if you haven’t written yours down do it now).
- They make you cognizant of the passing of time.
- They remind you of your valuable accumulation of experience and abilities.
- They remind you that if you want to accomplish everything in your plan you need to keep moving.
- They help you rise above your current day-to-day work to see your entire career and how much of it is yet unwritten.
- Most importantly, they are a scary reminder that if you don’t start writing the next chapter, there will be no next chapter. There will be no rising drama. There will be no cray-cray challenge that tests your fortitude. No great triumph. Your career story will end on this chapter. That is perfectly acceptable if you have accomplished everything in your plan. I have not.
You just read the critical part of the post. Feel free to go enjoy some sun now. If it is raining or nighttime as you read this, I baked you some more blog cookies below.
My last 3 Labor Day evaluations.
On Labor Day 2015 I was deep into my plans for starting my own advertising agency. My career evaluation was full of excitement and potential. But only if I followed through with the plan and plunged into entrepreneurship, which was the next square on my Career Candyland board game.
On Labor Day 2016 I had launched my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, and had already worked with 8 clients. I was learning. We were growing. I was on course.
Today, Labor Day 2017, I couldn’t be happier. I love what I am doing. I love what we are building at The Weaponry. I have a great team of full-time, part-time and some-time coworkers. I love the clients we have been honored to help. We have now worked with 20+ great brands in the United States and Canada. This is the most exciting and rewarding chapter of my career. But I wouldn’t have gotten to it if I had not regularly pondered where I stood in my career and where I wanted to go next.
So each year, at Labor Day, as you enjoy the tribute to your labor, take a few minutes or a few hours to ask yourself, what’s next for my career? Find the next step towards the type of success you’ve always wanted. Take the steps that add new, more interesting chapters to your life story. Don’t just coast through each year trying not to get fired. If you stop evaluating long enough it becomes too late. The game is over. The book is done. And no one wants to read it. But if you chart your progress and refocus every Labor Day, you’ll have a book to be proud of. And I can’t wait to read it.