Maybe it was just me, but I loved shopping for new school supplies in the fall when I was growing up. Bags were filled with unsharpened pencils, binders, organizers and pristine notebooks yet to be filled with notes, doodles and to-do lists. The new academic year was a blank canvas, full of possibilities.
While I lamented the end of summer, fall always brought a sense of anticipation of what could be accomplished during the next nine months.
So as the daylight shortens, summer hours end and bags are unpacked from vacations taken, I was thinking about how we could as professionals apply that same enthusiasm and anticipation to our work lives.
I’ve created this list of questions asked prior to the new school year with thoughts how those can be translated in work year success.
Did you complete your summer reading list?
Translation: Did you use some of your summer downtime to good use by networking, attending workshops and continuing education programs or obtaining new certifications? Let your supervisors and colleagues know about your new skills and how these can be applied to your job, or the one above it.
Do you have your required supplies?
Translation: Does your phone work? Do your equipment and software need updating? Shiny new technology is not just fun to have – it’s motivating and affects productivity. Make this point to your boss.
Do you have your days planned out?
Translation: Are your to-do lists and activities prioritized correctly? Have you clearly defined your goals for the year? Writing these down increases the chance of completion.
Did you get the classes you wanted?
Translation: It’s easy to focus on areas in which you are already good at (the classes you wanted) but try projects outside your comfort zone (the classes you didn’t want) to grow professionally and personally.
Are you always sitting at the same lunch table?
Translation: Make an effort to spend time with people in other areas and departments to learn about their work and contributions to the company. Knowing processes, goals and other information outside your area will be beneficial to your career. Sit outside of your clique!
Are you taking care of yourself?
Translation: Skip the fries and bring your own lunch. At MotherG we offer Workout Wednesdays, group outings and healthy foods in our vending machines. Healthy employees are happy employees and productive ones, too. Don’t skip gym class! Even though the air might be a little chilly, get outside and walk or visit a gym at lunch to clear your head and boost energy.
Have you reconnected with the friends you lost touch with over the summer?
Translation: Make a point to meet with co-workers, catch up, and ask if they need your help with anything. Connections matter.
Have you met the new kids?
Translation: Make sure you meet the new hires and offer to show them around. If there is a program in place at your company, offer to be a mentor, if appropriate. At MotherG we have formal employee onboarding process in place to welcome new hires and get them up and running. (Click here to read more about onboarding)
Are you a teacher’s pet?
Translation: Get along with your supervisors, but throwing co-workers under the bus is a not a good idea. Own your successes and own your mistakes.
One more: Don't miss the bell!
Translation. Being late is rude. That’s all we have to say here.
Our school days may be long gone (for some of us more than others) but we can still recapture the excitement of a “new year” by adopting and adapting some of the guidelines we lived by at summer’s end. So good luck and don’t miss the bus!