Making the most of the summer
Even if you aren't ready to start networking, it is never too early to start creating your network chart. Divide your chart into three distinct categories on which you list everyone you can think of from different phases of your life: people from your past (your school and university classmates as well as former employers, colleagues and employees); your present (fellow parents and people you meet through voluntary work, hobbies or neighbourhood); and future (networks and groups you have yet to join). This is the kind of activity you can do all summer long, adding names as you think of them. Even if you start the summer thinking that you don't have a network, you'll be surprised how your chart grows.
With Wimbledon and the World Cup behind us, you'll probably be thinking about the long summer ahead and how to fill all those weeks until school starts again. You're unlikely to be thinking much about how you can get yourself back to work, at least until the summer is over. However, the summer can provide you with time to step away from your usual routine, to think and reflect and to implement some changes at home, all of which will lay strong foundations for your return to work. At the same time do take time to relax and recharge so that you are refreshed and full of energy when autumn comes around.
Here are some ideas of helpful and simple activities you can do during the summer:
Whether you have too many choices or too few, a useful way to think about what to do next is to think back to a work role (or part of a role) that you found fulfilling and reflect on what made it so. Our recent post describes a process for uncovering more about what gives you fulfillment. As these factors are related to your deep values, they will continue to be of great importance to you in the future. By working out what's important to you, you'll gain motivation to search for your next role. And you can identify clues about what you want to do next: there might be elements of a previous role that you can craft into a new one or an idea for a business or a desire to retrain in an area which interests you.
If you are going away somewhere and meeting new people that you are unlikely to see again, this provides a low risk way to practice telling your story
- Get clearer about what will fulfill you and what you might do next
. You can test out an answer to the dreaded question of ‘what do you do?’, refine it and get used to saying it. Telling your story might even lead to a networking opening, as I discovered when telling my story to the father of a family with whom my family had shared a hot, dusty and uncomfortable beach buggy ride. He turned out to be a partner in a big four accounting firm and after the holiday introduced me to his head of HR, a great addition to my network.
The summer is a great time to make changes to the family routines and responsibilities away from the hectic schedule of the school year. If you're hoping to go back to work, you'll need to prepare your family for the changes that will be required of them. For younger children, this might be a new kind of after school care or route to school. For older children, you might want them to start taking responsibility for organising their sports kit, making their own packed lunches or doing laundry. You'll know best what adjustments you will need your family to make, to support your return to work, and the more preparation they have the easier it will be. Read our posts on combating guilt feelings if these get in the way of making the changes that will help you.
Have a good summer, rest and recharge. We'll also be taking time to relax and recharge and will be back in a month's time.
Posted by Katerina
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