Here Comes The New Year – Are You Ready?

Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another
as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.
~ Goran Persson

With the beginning of each New Year, many if not most of us start ticking off those areas that we wish to improve in the coming year, sitting down to compose the time-honored — or infamous, depending on how you look at it — New Year’s Resolutions.

I’m all in favor of New Year’s Resolutions, as it marks a time that we can restart, rejuvenate, reinvigorate and even reinvent our lives. It’s an opportunity to reassess ourselves, our goals and our decisions. Included in the typical list of resolutions are losing weight, getting organized, earning or saving more money, quitting smoking, improving education, spending more time with one’s family, visiting a place longed to see and finding that special someone with whom to share one’s life. In recent years, finding a job — or working in one that you really love — has been added to the list. What are your resolutions this New Year?

In addition to the resolutions that you list for 2016, I’d like to suggest the following that could enhance your professional and personal lives in the New Year and beyond:

  1. Develop a strategic plan for your job search. Whether you’re looking for a job or looking to change your current one you’ll find lots of suggestions, tips and techniques in my year-long job search series (2014).
  2. Adopt a positive attitude. Employers hire for attitude over aptitude, and generally speaking one’s soft skills are as, or more, important than one’s technical skills.
  3. Audit your social media presence and polish your smartphone etiquette. The world is watching you online and offline, so ensure that you are sending the message you want the world to receive about you. Inappropriate photos or art on your Facebook page or an unseemly or tactless comment anywhere can ruin your chances of attaining a job, promotion, candidacy, membership or other important advancement in your career or personal life.
  4. Improve your table manners. Mastering dining etiquette and knowing how to conduct yourself across the spectrum from the most formal to the most casual dining occasion can enhance your professional and social odds. You will be held in good stead whether you are invited to join an employer for lunch as a finalist for a much sought-after job; as a guest at your professor’s holiday reception; hanging out with your friends at a campus pizza party or attending a barbecue hosted by the parents of your new significant other. In addition, if you are a parent or student, dining with your family three times a week or more will provide significant benefits for both students and the family structure in the present and future.
  5. Open your heart and mind to other cultures, ideas and lifestyles. We live in a multicultural civilization that is stretching across the U.S. as well as other countries. Getting to know others who are different from us can only enrich us and our society and make us stronger in every sense. Demonstrating good manners and civility to others, including to those who are different from us or with whom we don’t agree on everything, elevates us and society as a whole. This does not mean we should be doormats, but showing kindness to people also shows our strength and leadership.
  6. Be kind to animals. This includes showing love to and taking proper care of our pets; exhibiting respect and proper protocol toward guide and service dogs and their owners; and taking responsibility for eliminating cruelty and for promoting humane treatment and respect for all domestic animals including pets and livestock and for eliminating the slaughter of wildlife for greed and profit and for their wellbeing and survival.
  7. Vote. The year 2016 is a Presidential election year as well as a year in which Congressional, state and local elections will take place. Although voting is not a law, it is the right, privilege and responsibility of every U.S. citizen to take part in selecting the people who will represent him or her. Voting is necessary to ensure that — to use the words of Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address — “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” And while Americans tend to turn out to vote in a Presidential election year, it is imperative that they also go to the polls in droves in during mid-term and off-year elections as well. After all, it’s not just the election of a President — who sets the tone of the country, operates on a high level, and is charged with protecting the country and defending the Constitution — that affects our lives; affecting our lives even more immediately are the elections of senators and representatives of the U.S. Congress, governors, state senators and assembly members, county legislators, mayors, town and village board members and so on that can occur throughout the year as well as on the November election date. So whether you’ll be voting for the first or umpteenth time in 2016 make sure you know who is running where and for what and understand his or her positions and how they align with your values, principles, desires and goals. Using your vote is taking an action that can change your life and the world.

Above all, let’s “be there for one another,” as former Swedish Prime Minister Goren says. With that, a Happy New Year to all. And for those celebrating Kwanzaa, all my best wishes.

Please join me next week as the Wedding Series resumes!

Until next time,

Jeanne

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