When the cat’s away, the mice will play.

It’s a 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 other people in the office are noticing.

Instead of hanging around the water cooler, spend time strategizing your career.

Use your downtime efficiently by listing your work accomplishments in the last year.

This list becomes your justification for a salary increase or promotion.

Just make sure to discuss these accomplishments with your boss BEFORE their next year’s budget is submitted to accounting.

After you’ve listed your accomplishments, start brainstorming things you want to achieve in your career.

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 are examples to consider:

Do you want to expand your industry knowledge?

Do you want to pursue an advanced 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 achieve them (i.e., in three years, 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 ensure 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, enthusiastic, and focused), and make 2023 your best year ever!

(Update to original post from July 12, 2017)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at 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 developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. 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.’”