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5 Gifts to Give Yourself (and Your Career!) in 2015


Even if you don’t observe any of the December holidays, personally, there’s almost no way you’ve made it this far into the month unscathed by the gift-giving madness. Now that all of the bustling and spending has come to end, it’s time to turn your attention inward, and ask yourself what you need and want in the next year, in order to get the career you deserve. Good news for your bank account: many of these “gifts” are free.


(Photo Credit: JD Hancock/Flickr)

1. Learn a new skill.

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Think about your dream job. What do the people with that job title have, that you don’t have? This year is the year to get it. Learn to code, pick up a second language, or brush up on a software package you forgot you knew. You’ll improve your chances of moving up the corporate ladder in the long run and feel more engaged in your career right now.

2. Take a risk.

So much of career advice centers around warning people away from hasty decisions, and of course, it’s important to look before you leap. After you’ve done your research, and considered your options, though, sometimes there’s nothing to do but make the jump. Obviously, being flaky and impulsive won’t benefit your career — but neither will stagnating in one place. Big success comes from (calculated) risk.

3. Give yourself a break.

Our culture looks highly on folks who burn the midnight oil, which is too bad, because working around the clock actually hinders productivity. Eventually, it’ll even burn you out. In order to do your best work, you need rest, exercise, and a life outside of the office. Schedule it into your calendar if you have to, but make sure that you have something in your life that’s not related to your job.

4. Make new friends.

If the idea of networking makes you cringe, you’re probably looking at it the wrong way. Don’t get spooked by the term. Networking, at its core, is just relationship building. It works best if you do it organically, without trying to figure out how every conversation and interaction will benefit your career. Weirdly, people find that off-putting, anyway.

5. Find the spark.

The whole concept of “Do What You Love” is problematic, to say the least. But, even if you’re not lucky enough to have the kind of privilege that allows you to focus on your dream job, you can make your personal and professional lives better by focusing on the things you love to do.

Hopefully, there’s something about your job that makes your heart soar, even if you don’t love everything about it. If not, remembering what you love about your life outside the office can help make the tough parts of work easier to take. You never know: it’s always possible that the hobby that keeps you sane could the seed of your next career — the one that will actually get you excited to go to work in the morning.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done for your career? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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I have always wondered about #4 and wonder how it applies smoothly because the most unfortunate dilemmas with regards to networking and relationships is when one party suddenly out of nowhere suddenly stops responding for no reason when nothing bad has happened, when two people meet at a place with contact information exchanged with unfortunately one party failing to respond or follow-up as mentioned when the other party tries or when one party tries to arrange lunch or coffee outings… Read more »

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