Summer is a time that we all look forward to, for a variety of reasons. This anticipation starts with childhood, when, after a school year that we never thought would end, we finally got a free pass from the confines of the stuffy classroom. Even if it was only for two months, we felt free.
"No more school, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks"
We now carry on in our careers, feeling almost confined in our cubes, basking in light at best florescent. Yet, the sheer physicality of summer; its sunshine, warmth and the almost endless possibilities for all sorts of pleasures, never really leaves us. Nor should it. For those of us who pretty much work through most of the summer, there is, I have to admit, a lot of wistful gazing out the window. And a lot of restless energy, while wishing that we were biking, swimming, golfing, playing softball, tennis, golf, or indulging in the not so simple task of trying lazily to do absolutely nothing.
If you’re stuck at work during the summer season, do not fret! The coming months are rife with opportunity. Consider these possibilities:
>Because things tend to generally slow down at most offices in the summer, it’s really a great time to…
*Catch up on the professional reading that you steadfastly neglected all year long. Who knows, but you might even gleen a few useful nuggets from this stuff
*Re-organize your cube, your files, e-mails and the like, so as to reduce both physical and mental clutter. It’s almost akin to a spring cleaning of your mind
*Plan for the next phase of your career, using critical thinking skills to assess where you are and where you (realistically) want – no, need to be, in both the long and short term
*Develop the strategies and tactics that you’ll need to use to best meet these objectives
>Since a lot of people at work, especially head honchos, are on vacation during the summer season, this is great time to strut your stuff. Leadership is, except for the most highly (and rigidly) structured organizations, in short supply during the summer. What an opportunity to become the ‘go to guy’ for a now needy organization. You can get the chance to demonstrate loyalty, commitment and a level of skill that otherwise gets submerged-and unnoticed-when the place is popping with the suits
>Another key benefit of working while others are playing, is that you may get the chance to learn different skills, apply new abilities, and take on challenges that would otherwise not present themselves. Every boss and organization appreciates, sooner or later, staff who possess a wide range of capabilities. Also, while people are distracted by the surf and the sand of summer, why not look for a new job? Don’t be fooled: the summer is a great time to find a new job.
>Expanding your network, which, though we all realize how important this can be, is unfortunately easier said than done. Often, we get pigeon-holed, so that our entire work life revolves around a very small circle of people. And, while familiarity doesn’t necessarily breed contempt, it does cause boredom and a suffocating sameness to the work day. But, during the summer, you may well get a chance to meet, and work with, a whole new set of players, and possibly from departments you barely knew existed. It’s axiomatic, the more contacts you have, the better connected you become
Still sour about having to work this summer? It’s time you took them lemons and, you guessed it, made some lemonade for yourself.