Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the cooler weather, dining al fresco wearing a sweater and the kaleidoscope of colors courtesy of the trees in
. Even though it isn’t officially here yet, here are a few autumn career housekeeping reminders. I recently read an article that said people spend more time planning their summer vacations than they do their careers. You can change that. Indiana
If you are currently working:
(1) Review your performance appraisal from last year. Are you happy with your performance assessment for 2010? Are you likely to be assessed the same or higher for 2011? Schedule time in September for a face-to-face meeting with whoever writes your review. What is their perception of your work this year? Let them know you want to improve your rating. It shows two things: (1) that you are planning for the future & (2) that you care about your appraisal. One of the issue workers in their 50s and 60s face is managers begin to think you are less engaged because you are thinking of retirement.
(2) It’s Employee Benefit Time! It is a time of year near and dear to my heart from years of working with my team to have a smooth annual benefit enrollment. From the employee perspective, that pesky information is staring you in the face AGAIN. I can tell you from experience, you never truly appreciate your company-paid employee benefits until you don’t have any. Take the time to look at the package from the benefits department and call the 800# if you have questions. Paying attention to your benefit choices and options can put more money in your packet (and who doesn’t need more $$)? Benefits like your Flexible Spending Account and Child Care Accounts cannot roll over from year-to-year and have to be updated annually. So think about 2012— need new glasses? Daycare having a tuition increase? Wisdom teeth out for those older kids?
(3) Since you are already in benefit mode, it is probably a good idea to check the website of your 401(k) or 403(b) provider. Yes, it is (pick one) SCARY, DEPRESSING, HORRIFYING, USELESS, but it is a part of your retirement nest egg. During my years in the employee benefits world, our 401(k) provider recommended employees increase their contributions at merit increase (aka, raise) time, so it would be a less noticeable in your pay. I know some companies are delaying or freezing merit increases, but if you still do receive one, it is good advice.
For the Job-Seekers:
(1) October is the perfect month to find seasonal employment. If you are looking for a full-time job and you have been out of the job market a long time, what do you have to lose? I highly recommend working during the holiday season. There are so many positives to earning money, even if it is minimal. Working gets you out with new people (aka-networking), forces you to put on your happy face and it could lead to something full-time. Employers seem more open to mature workers for seasonal jobs. I understand if you are receiving unemployment benefits that you cannot compromise your benefits with a holiday job. If you are among the long-term unemployed not receiving benefits anyway---retail outlets, shipping services like UPS and Federal Express, entertainment venues, catering companies and call centers generally need more people during the October-January timeframe.
(2) Job Searchers take heart. 2012 budgets are being created as you read this. And your new job? It is in the budget. Now is the time to position your self for the headcount being added for 2012. Your perfect job is out there.