There’s nothing like the summer to make you forget that you hate your job and you’re underpaid. Invites to BBQs. Late weekday evenings that linger since the sky still has hints of purple and orange. The hour of happy after work. And weekends that begin at 2 o’clock on Fridays.
Yes, summertime is a good time.
Then Labor Day approaches and out of nowhere the days get shorter. Your weather app says 75 degrees, but the chilly undertone tells you different. Your thin knit sweater for the evenings is now being replaced with a light jacket during the day. As quickly as the summer comes, it exits stage right before the calendar officially says so.
It’s at this moment, something happens. You remember that you can’t stand how your boss always takes credit for your work. Or that your coworker can’t handle the simplest tasks without messing it up, but knows everybody’s business. Your job sucks again and there are a million new reasons why you wish you were prepared to make a move.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait until you realize you’re in a rut to get out of it. Just a few simple actions during the summer can help you continue to build a strong personal brand that will attract new opportunities all year round.
1. Create a reading list
Reading is like bicep curls for your mind. It makes you grow. It tones your skills. It reminds you that you haven’t done it in a while. Deciding on a few books to read doesn’t have to take you back to your summer reading list days in elementary school (or the list you have to make sure your kids are following now).
There are so many easy reads that can get you geared up to make a positive change in your career—even if you’re not ready to do anything at the moment. Take some time during the summer to work on personal development so that you can maintain a strong personal brand.
Tip: Think of 2 books that you would like to read, (and finish!), before the summer is over. They don’t all necessarily have to be career-related. They can also focus on nurturing your mind and exchanging bad habits for good ones. After all, focusing on what makes you happy will motivate you to set clear career goals.
2. Meet up with a mentor
Keeping your brand sharp doesn’t have to be painful. The summer is a great time to casually catch up with a mentor or old colleague. This time is much easier to meet up with those you’ve been meaning to check in with, but haven’t had the chance to reach out to. You can use the catch up to see how they are doing and exchange ideas about current goals.
It’s always good to run your ideas or challenges by people whose opinions you trust. Just remember this is not the time for you to ask for a favor or a hook up. It’s about showing interest in someone you respect and gaining some insight on how you can grow in your career.
Tip: Invite your mentor or colleague out to grab a cup of coffee at a local cafe. Cafes are great catch up spots because they’re no-fuss and budget-friendly. If you find you need more time or want to step it up to go someplace else, go for it. The key is to get the ball rolling by setting a date and location that’s easy for everyone.
3. Set a timeline
Just because you want to enjoy your summer doesn’t mean that you can’t put an action plan together. By all means, enjoy the short workdays and long summer nights. If this is an easy time for you, allow yourself to give your mind a break. It’s rejuvenating and may prevent you from cursing out more people than you may have otherwise.
The key is to identify a date to get your butt in gear. Then stick to it. Deciding on a date to get back into the swing of things allows you to enjoy not being on the schedule for a little bit, but will also let you know when it’s time to focus again.
Tip: Take an assessment of the goals you would like to accomplish for the second half of the year. Be realistic about the time it will take to get these things done. If you want to set yourself up for a promotion, you will need to reach some goals before the end of year. If you want to leave your job by December, you will need to get on the ball by August. Set aside time to get your thoughts on paper and revisit them when it’s time to come back to reality.
Now you can sit back and make the most your summer until next year.
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