Ideas to refresh your professional life in 2021

Make no mistake: 2020 hasn’t been great. It’s provided us with no end of stresses and pressures, not least in the workplace, which for many of us now is our living room at home. Of course, while those of us who’ve been constantly in work through this period should be counting ourselves lucky that our roles haven’t been at risk like many others, that cannot distract from the fact that working conditions across the year have been less than ideal.

Forgetting it’s 2020 for a second, this time of year is generally when many of us rethink our professional and personal situations and consider a “new year, new me” sort of move in our working lives. But add in the tedious nature of work in 2020 – and the fact we’ve all been trapped in our homes for too long – making a change in the new year is arguably more appealing than ever.

If you are one of those people who is desperate for a professional makeover in 2021, here are five ways to refresh things for the next 12 months and beyond.

Rethink your position at work.

The economic strain on businesses across the world has meant that many workplaces have focused on cost-cutting over investment. As confidence in business returns in 2021, it’s fair that your thoughts can return to your personal progression within your role and the business.

If you feel confident in your value to your employer, ask for some additional responsibility or a new role in the new year. It not only shows desire to progress from your side, but it could provide you with a much-needed change in your work, which could also be accompanied by a promotion and some extra money.

See what else is out there.

If the proposal above doesn’t provide you with what you need or you don’t feel like that’s a feasible option with your current circumstances, the next question to ask would be around whether you really should be in that role for much longer. If you are an aspirational type who wants to keep moving forward, the answer is probably to start looking for other opportunities.

There’s absolutely no harm in seeking out new opportunities while in your current role. Scouring the market, either by yourself or via a recruiter, is a great way to understand your value and place in the market. You might find out your current position is actually a better gig than you thought, or you might be surprised to find there’s a better, more valuable opportunity out there for you to take on.

Learn something new.

Of course, refreshing your professional life doesn’t have to be about linear progression. It can, instead, be about broadening your skillset and learning new things. Taking on an educational course as a working adult can seem daunting to many, but it can be a really rewarding process if you’re passionate about a certain subject.

You may want to start a course with the intention to retrain and start in another sector, or you may just want to learn something new for the academic satisfaction and knowledge away from your role, instead from the perspective of personal interest. Either way, it’ll keep you entertained and busy with something new.

Go your own way.

If you are tired of the corporate world or answering to a superior, working for yourself could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Being your own boss might not work for some, but you can set your own schedule, rates and line of work, plus you’ll likely find your skill or trade in question is decidedly more lucrative to you away from the grips of an employer.

Working for yourself doesn’t have to surround the skills you already have, either. As we’ve already suggested above, you can retrain in a new area and choose something you’re more passionate about, like turning a hobby craft into a job, or identify something potentially more lucrative like live forex trading.

You will need time to build a portfolio of clients and pick up a steady income, but successful freelance work in the long run will pay an awful lot better than when working within a business – and it’s all done while moving to the beat of your own drum.

Take some time out.

If you’ve got a bit of cash in the bank, there is one other professional option that you’ll undoubtedly enjoy – and that’s to do nothing at all.

Take some time away from your work, either a sabbatical agreed with your employer or leaving your role with the intention of finding something new down the line (but only if you’re sure that’s what you want to do). This will give you the time you need to do things you’ve always wanted to do, be it travelling, starting a new hobby or just simply relaxing. After a bit of time out, you’ll find yourself refreshed and ready to get back into work, maybe even missing it.

When you do go back, be it to your old job or a completely new one, you’ll be doing so invigorated and with a new approach, which will no doubt be beneficial to your professional perspective.

If doing something about your job is top of the new year’s resolutions list for 2021, the good news is there are a number of routes you can take. Whether that’s development in your current role, finding a new one, learning something new, going it alone or just taking a break, make sure you think and act carefully around what the best move for you is heading into 2021. Hopefully you, along with everyone else, can enjoy a much better year ahead.

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