The 2015 resolutions to lose weight, read more and get your finances in order might already be gone. We all knew how long those would last anyway. But it is still only mid-January, the year is young and you can make an impact on your career in a very simple way: keep track of what you do – your contributions, your victories, and your gifts to the organization. Like resolutions, keeping track of what you do sounds simple but is more onerous than it sounds. However, this simple act of keeping track of your contributions could impact promotions and your career.
Here is why…no one really knows the contributions you make to the organization, except you. And at the end of the year, only you will be able to look back and say, “Darn, I did a good job” with confidence. We think we will remember all those glorious ideas and acts that improved the world, but we don’t. In order to keep track of our accomplishments, nothing fancy is required. No need for program management spreadsheets or sophisticated software or downloaded apps. What you need is a note to yourself, thrown into a jar or shoe box or the bottom drawer. Over time the jar should have things in that says things like:
- Increased revenue by 4% this month. 1/31/15
- Finished the project on time. 2/24/15
- Hired two new world-class associates. 3/1/15
- Developed idea for the new product extension 1/30/15
- Got rid of department dead weight today 2/22/15
- Dealt with worst customer in the world today and turned him around 1/18/15
- Worked over weekend to finish web design 1/5/15
When the time is right, empty the jar and make it your review that leads to a promotion or at worst, justification to keep your job. Over time the notes in your jar will help flesh out your resume if you are looking for a new job. The jar will be the source of reference for your own review.
Probably no need to put the screw ups in the jar. The boss will remember those.
And, if the jar is always empty, either you are not doing anything noteworthy or you don’t think you are. Or, maybe you are bored. If you never have anything to put in the jar, you may be in the wrong job or you should be looking for a job.
So whether you use a jar, a notebook, an email folder, a running tally in the calendar, a gold star system, or an app, this year keep a detailed account of all you do and be proud of your contribution.
When it comes time for performance reviews or putting a resume together, you will thank me.