When you are planning on how you will try and get ahead this year, don't think about working harder, instead think about trying to work smarter.
It's not about the time you spend in the office at your desk, running numbers, following up on all those small things that make you do your job expertly. If no one is noticing, you're not likely to be going anywhere any time soon.
Stop work – hands off the keyboard, detach from your email, move away from your desk and leave the office. It's time to give your career a boost by meeting new people, catching up with your networks and expanding your opportunities by getting out.
How do you know about the opportunities that are out there if you're not around to hear about them? Many roles are filled through word of mouth, personal recommendations and just knowing who is available at the right time.
The role doesn't have to be for you, but you might refer someone who might refer someone and eventually this may help you. You don't always have to get a direct result by networking but it just creates a web around you that will help your career.
Every time I've organised a function lately, I've noticed that there is a no-show rate of around 20-30 per cent. I understand that there are things that come up at the last minute, urgent child matters, a sudden work emergency, feeling unwell or some unforseen catastrophe, but it's hard to believe that sometimes people are just feeling that they should keep working rather than going to an event.
You should get up, you should leave your work and your desk and you should go to the event.
Firstly, when you signed up for it you probably thought it was a good idea – and it probably was. It may have been a good speaker, good group of people to network with or something you wanted to learn. That probably hasn't changed.
Secondly, if you're thinking of your career – do you really think that someone's going to notice and reward you for staying at your desk a little longer? No, they're probably not. But you might get noticed by someone at the function you're missing, or you might make important contacts through networking.
And it's also good to have some down time. It's good to step away and free your mind from the work you are doing and have time to think. Even if it is still about work, you will be more likely to have creative thoughts when you step away from your computer.
So let me encourage you to put your head up from your work – look around, get up from your desk and take the opportunity to talk to some others at an event.
Learn about what's going on and get some experience about talking about yourself, what you're into, what you're up to. You never know when you are going to meet a like-minded person who can see opportunities for your future.
You may even make a friend that may outlast the job and even your career. You won't lose. So put down your pen, close your computer and walk out the door. There's a big world out there awaiting you.
Julia Newbould is a Stella Network leader, BT Financial Group
This article originally featured on Risk Adviser's sister publication ifa.
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