Use the new year to improve your work status

Friday, December 23, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 52

No matter what your personal religious, political or social views might be, it seems fair to say we can all agree on one thing: 2016 has been a tough year.

Friends and families were pulled apart by different political leanings. Workers went through difficult corporate layoffs and restructurings. Violence and death were reported daily in the news.

It’s been rough – very rough.

In fact, after rounds of Facebook frustrations, many people are opting to take a break from social media just to regroup. Others are refocusing on eating healthy and taking care of themselves. They’re using the holidays to prepare for a better, more positive 2017.

This is one of those times I feel extra thankful for fresh starts. And, what a better way to begin again than to start with a few new year’s resolutions.

Rather than focus on things outside of your control, it’s time to reflect on what is inside of your sphere of influence. As you can guess, I recommend your career be placed at the very top of your list.

It’s one thing that has a very direct, very immediate impact on your daily life. It can impact your financial well-being, your personal stress and the general fulfillment you feel.

Take inventory on what’s working in your career and what you’d like to change.

-- Do you want to land a promotion?

-- Would you like to make more money, work in a different industry or live in a different city?

-- Are you looking for a workplace with a better work-life balance?

-- Would you prefer to use your strengths in a different way?

There’s no right answer when it comes to deciding what’s important in your career and your life. The most important thing is to be in touch with what’s important to you. From there, you can set goals.

But don’t fool yourself. Career transformation is a process. It rarely happens overnight, and it’s certainly not easy.

First, prioritize your goals by selecting which are the most important. Then break them down into steps.

Perhaps one goal is to update your LinkedIn profile. One step might be to take a new photo. Another might be to add your latest job title and accomplishments.

Breaking your goals down into bite-size pieces makes them more attainable. Attaching those goals to dates will help to hold you accountable.

But whatever path you choose to pursue, start strong. Companies really do begin hiring again in January, so don’t put off the change you want to make. Put failure out of your mind. Acknowledge that the effort is the most important part of the entire process.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Moving up in your career is a rarely an effort achieved alone. It takes a great company, managers, mentors, friends, confidants, coaches and family members.

I’m certain that with a little effort and teamwork, together we can work to make 2017 brighter all the way around.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.