You can tell it’s that time of year – the signs are everywhere.
I’m not talking about baseball season or even gardening. I’m talking yard sales.
Yard sales might well be one of America’s favorite pastimes. Buyers and sellers alike love ‘em. Some are drawn by the thrill of the hunt and the search for lost treasures. Others are captivated by oddities.
Personally, I love the idea of getting rid of things I don’t use anymore.
Don’t you wish you could do the same for your career?
Think about it. We’re all carrying around stuff we don’t need and which might actually be doing us harm.
Take that image of your career as one long, glorious upward-swooping arc, with no side steps, time outs or unscheduled interruptions. Get rid of it. The idea of one job, or even one field, for life is as dated as a pair of dusty and cracked go-go boots selling for $1.50.
It might be hard to let go of, it might have sentimental value and take you back to a simpler time, but you need to relinquish the dream of finding the perfect job. The sooner you clear that idea out of your intellectual attic, the sooner you’ll be able to focus on crafting yourself a fulfilling career.
The promotions you didn’t get, job interviews you’re sure you bungled and unfortunate job choices of your past shouldn’t matter anymore to you than the obscure comments in some stranger’s high school yearbook. Take a look through them to make sure you’ve learned all you need to, and put them on the “To Go” stack.
You can also get rid of any bad habits you might have, like clothes that seem to have been yours in a former lifetime. Grab your tendency to procrastinate, or communication skills you know are less than stellar, and shove them out the door, along with anything with really big shoulder pads.
Do the same with accomplishments a little past their prime. We know how sad it is to see former high school athletes dwelling on their glory days, and you don’t want to do the same with your career. It’s fine to acknowledge how earlier efforts are part of your development, but don’t get stuck there. Stop hoarding old trophies from your career and put your energy into earning new ones.
The standard seasoned yard sale sellers use is, if you haven’t worn it, cooked with it, plugged it in or otherwise used it within one year, it can go.
Try taking a similarly strict approach with attitudes like your approach to job hunting, networking, work habits, expectations and more. You’ll clear out your head and make room to think about your future.
by Danielle Dresden