09/07/2016 Molly Moseley

Energize your career with the back-to-school mindset

The majority of K–12 schools in Minnesota start the week before or week after Labor Day. Even kids who dread the classroom feel excitement at the prospect of a new year. Connecting with friends, learning new things and discovering passions is why the back-to-school season is so exhilarating.

Nostalgia sets in for many parents, too, as they fondly remember the fun they had while in school. When you’re young, the world is your oyster and it seems like anything is possible. Sitting in a stark cubical and working a boring job is quite the contrast to all that joy and optimism experienced ages ago.

If you’re feeling stuck in your career, it’s time to be inspired by the electric energy of your kids’ return to school. This is the ideal time of year to find your motivation to discover your next career move so you can fully enjoy your work. Not only will you be more satisfied and engaged, but you’ll also be a better role model for your children.

Here are five back-to-school steps that can help you re-energize your career and put you on the fast track to a brighter future:

Meet the teacher

Before school starts, students are given the opportunity to meet the teacher and other key staff members. These are the people who will help guide them to success. For working professionals, it’s important to have a close relationship with “teachers.” These are the people who play a pivotal role in your career development. Find a good mentor, befriend industry influencers and network as much as possible.

Study hard

If you feel you’ve hit a career plateau, additional education can help you spruce up your skill set and help you be more marketable to future employers. Research continuing education classes, certifications and college courses that will supercharge your career. Ask if your employer has a reimbursement program to cut costs.

Select extracurricular activities

These days there are myriad extracurricular options for students. These enrichment opportunities help students grow their interests while they also meet like-minded individuals. For professionals, extracurricular activities come in the form of becoming a member of a professional organization or industry association. You may also consider volunteering at a nonprofit.

Get the right supplies

The school-supply aisle at the local store is full of stressed parents desperately looking for the 24-pack of crayons when all they can find is the 12-pack. Having the right supplies is essential to academic success, and it’s also true for professional achievement. Is it time to upgrade your technology at home or at work? Do you need to invest in modern office tools? The right supplies will ease your journey down the path toward success.

Choose your major

For juniors and seniors in high school, it’s time to start researching colleges and consider what major to pursue. For unhappy professionals, it’s time to do some reflection. If you feel like you’re treading water, it may mean it’s time for a new career. This could include creating a plan to get a promotion or changing careers completely. Spend time thinking about your options and follow your heart and head.