When the cat’s away, the mice will play. It’s an old saying that means when there’s no supervision, people tend to do as they please … even breaking the rules.

When your boss is on vacation, you may see coworkers coming in later than normal. They may even dress more casually.

But what they don’t realize is that others in the workplace are noticing. Instead of wasting time hanging around the water cooler and adversely impacting your work reputation, spend time strategizing your career.

Use your downtime efficiently by listing what you’ve accomplished at work in the last year. This list becomes your justification for a salary increase or promotion. Just make sure to discuss with your boss BEFORE his/her budget is submitted for the next year.

After you’ve listed your accomplishments, start brainstorming things you want to accomplish. It could be something you want to do before the end of the year or it may be something you want to do in ten years.

Here’s a list of things to consider:

Do you want to expand your industry knowledge?

Do you want to pursue an advance degree?

Do you want a promotion?

Do you want a new job with a new employer?

Do you want to take a sabbatical in the next ten years?

Once you’ve brainstormed, then prioritize your list. Identify one or two items you want to accomplish this year. For the remaining items, estimate when you want to accomplish them (i.e., in three years, in ten years, etc.).

For the one or two items you want to accomplish this year, make an action plan. For each step define a due date. Add these due dates to your calendar to make sure you stay on track. Be realistic with your time and don’t overcommit. You’re doing this plan for yourself. Make it achievable to keep yourself motivated.

Summer tends to be a slower time for most industries. If you find yourself with downtime, especially when your boss is on vacation, spend time strategizing your career. Block off one or two hours during the week to focus on this task. It’s up to you to manage your career.

Stay PEF (positive, enthused, focused) and make 2017 your best year ever!


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Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy, and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”