There are few times in life when you have the opportunity to take a step back, look at a larger picture, and move forward in a new direction. This summer was my time to take that step, to learn new skills, expand my network and in doing this, learn more about myself. After leaving my employer of twelve years I’ve spent time getting to know each of my kids better, traveling with family for the sole purpose of relaxing, taking advantage of training I’ve meant to do for years, and even started a blog. This time has not only been spent on reflecting about the time spent with my previous employer, but seeking advice and doing company research to decide what my next steps will be. Here are a few key ideas that I’ve learned during my time:
Enjoy your time
When looking for your next career or employer, yes you need to treat the effort as a full time job. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take moments to enjoy your time away from the nine to five. The time may not be yours soon.
Build your brand
This is really something that you should be working on at all times, however making sure it’s up to date is important. And this relates to not only your online presence or resume, but relationships and certifications. Is there a class that you can take part in or review? How about becoming more active with professional and personal networks?
Highlight the “I”
When you spend most of your time selling a product and speaking about the great team that you work with, it can be difficult to step away from the “we” and be able to highlight yourself. This doesn’t mean bragging on everything you do or forgetting the people that you worked with. But it does mean prepare to answer questions about your role without diminishing it.
Don’t put it off
Is there a class that you have wanted to take or a professional certification that would help you in your career? Don’t put it off. Take your time to learn new skills and put them to use. Between job searching, networking and spending time with the family, I started my Google AdWords certification and am well on my way to completing that. I’ve also taken part in webinars through a few different organizations. While doing this I’ve put the skills to use building my website and online presence. This hands on experience is invaluable.
Use your listening ears
One of my toughest decisions in this transition was direction. Should I start my own business or simply search for a new position? Being a small business owner is all consuming and something that you don’t do unless you are going to put in the time and effort needed to be successful. This is not a decision that I came to alone. I sought the guidance of friends and acquaintances to help with this (also using this to build my brand) and made sure I used my listening ears. This is some of the best advice I’d received in years.
After four months of enjoying my time, building my personal brand and expanding my professional knowledge, I am looking forward to beginning my next position with Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation. On Monday, August 22nd I will report to the organization as their Foundation Specialist, helping serve northern Arizona as part of the events team there. If you are not aware, Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation (formerly the Flagstaff Medical Center Foundation) has recently changed its status and is now a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization and serves not only the Flagstaff campus, but all Northern Arizona Healthcare locations, including the Verde Valley.
I’ve spent the past 12 years as a public servant to Flagstaff and the region. This new position will allow me to continue to serve the public along with a great team. I can’t wait…..