Your Career in the New Year: Three Resolutions Worth Keeping

By Kristen Harris

I love a new year! It always feels so filled with possibility. It’s a fresh start and time to try something new. Instead of the same old resolution to lose ten pounds, exercise every day, or give up chocolate (gasp), this year make some resolutions worth keeping. Here are three ideas that will make a difference in your career over the next year, and for many years to come.

  1. Gain new skills. In the creative industry we can never stop learning. Today individuals are responsible for the growth of their own skills and career; an employer may help fund or provide learning opportunities, but you are responsible for guiding your own growth. Stay up-to-date (ideally on the cutting edge) of what’s going on in your industry and your discipline. Take a class, learn new software, or build complementary skill sets. Learning comes in all shapes and sizes, from formal to informal. There are great classes offered at local schools, community centers, and through our Illumination Bureau. Informally, you can also learn from peers, other industry group members, at a presentation, or in a seminar. Creativity often happens when you try something new, something outside of your discipline. Go to an architecture presentation, take a cooking class, learn to weld. You never know where inspiration and ideas will come from, or how you’ll use that skill in the future.
  2. Connect with inspiration. To be interesting, be interested. Read everything, research a new idea, go to an exhibition, listen to a speaker, watch a movie, or just walk around your neighborhood. There is content, information and data everywhere. In fact, it often feels overwhelming; you’ll never be able to read or consume everything available. Choose a few interesting blogs, newsletters, facebook pages, or publications to follow. Every so often allow yourself to follow an interesting path down the rabbit hole. Click, click, click…suddenly you’re exposed to artwork you’ve never seen or are reading an author you’ve never heard of. The joy of discovery can lead to fresh inspiration. 
  3. Meet interesting people. The creative industry is a tight ecosystem, it always seems like everyone knows everyone else. At your next industry event, make a point of talking to someone you don’t know. Interesting conversations happen with people who are different from you. Attend events for your industry, or for another industry you are drawn to. Find a hobby or an organization to get involved with, related to your professional discipline or not. Connect, or re-connect with former teachers, supervisors, classmates or co-workers. Find someone you consider a mentor (formal or informal, really a mentor is just someone you respect and can learn from). Meet to chat with them periodically. 

By focusing attention on one or more of these areas, you’ll have an intriguing and engaging new year while building skills, experience, inspiration, and connections that will serve you well for years to come.