The holidays are over. It is a new month, a new year and a new decade. January provides us with a clean slate and a fresh start. There is a newness of where we are heading or what we could be about. What we could accomplish in 2010?
The month of January takes its name from Janus, the Roman god of gates and doorways. He is depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions. He looks left and right. He views what is in the past and what is in the future. Both perspectives are valuable. We learn from our past. We look back and realize the past is where we gained experience, memories and wisdom. We can look to the past and view our accomplishments and failures. It becomes our personal and professional history, our life archive. Perhaps our memory or recall can fade, but not the events or circumstances.
As we look back on the first decade of the new millennium, we realize in many ways it was a dud and disappointment. We witnessed the World Trade Towers being toppled with senseless terrorism. We closed the decade with the toppling of the global economy that resulted in high unemployment and massive job loss for young and old, skilled and unskilled.
The opposite direction is about the future…looking forward. What does the future hold? I don’t have a crystal ball, but if I did, I would say the future image looks unclear. Generally, economists are not optimistic about economic growth for the next 1-2 years and predict further decline. Housing remains flat. The auto industry is still in peril and the banking industry remains at risk. How does that impact our remaining labor force and job seekers waiting in the wings? For me personally, how does that news impact my niece who graduated from college in December, while her father continues a job search after 27 years with his former employer? Yes, these times could make Janus’ head spin.
Focus on the future. This calls for “Plan B” thinking. Do you have one? You should, we all should. Do not assume you are safe. With your current employer, work harder, work smarter, shine your shoes and ask how you can assist. If you are at risk or currently unemployed, update your resume, expand your job search (geographically and professionally) and network, network, network. Research potential employers and ask for an informational meeting. Be prepared. This is a good time to invest in yourself and repackage yourself. Take classes, update your skills and perhaps, retool your professional goals.
I used to work with at-risk students and now, there are at-risk employees. With an at-risk economy, you might be impacted. The economy remains fragile and unsteady, so be vigilant.
John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”