New Year’s Resolutions at Work

2009.jpgBy Liz O’Donnell (Boston)

As we head into a new year with a new administration, hopes run high for progress and change. Tempering those feelings, however, is the worst economy many of us have ever experienced. With these historic factors at work, many women executives are setting very specific goals for their 2009 New Year’s resolutions. Even though the statistics for New Year’s resolutions are discouraging –only 46%* are maintained after six months — these women know that people who make specific resolutions are 10 times* more likely to achieve their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. (*according to Auld Lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers)

Resolutions for women at work in 2009 fall into several categories finding work/life balance, expanding networks and skill sets and thriving in a down economy:

Finding Work/Life Balance. Says one female executive at the Bank of New York Mellon, “The resolution for me, and I think anyone, is demystifying the work life balance issues and really starting to apply them. These drastic economic times, highlight just how important it is as many of us are looking at a decrease in earnings power.”

Suzanne Hardy, sales manager for a technology solutions provider, concurs. Her top three resolutions are, “Stop working on the weekends, stop working on Christmas Eve and stop working on New Year’s Eve.”

But Hardy is conflicted. She recognizes that working weekends and holidays, “makes me a valuable employee and gives me job security, which allows me to be self sufficient and independent.”

Women have struggled for years with work/life balance, and not just working mothers. Both the Bank of New York executive and Hardy are single and don’t have children. Women are seeking a better mix of fulfillment, rest, achievement and recreation. That could mean more time volunteering, being with family or pursuing personal passions. In 2009, those desires may become stronger as women see their bonuses and commissions cut. Women could find themselves working more hours for less money just to protect their status at the office.

Expanding Network and Skill Sets. A more appealing way to find job security in turbulent times than working round the clock, is expanding your professional choices. Many women are planning to do this by learning new skills and building their networks. A poll of women executives on LinkedIn revealed many resolutions like these:

  • Become a CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional)
  • Work hard and increase my professional network
  • Maximize and increase my skills, knowledge and network.

Thrive in a Down Economy. While many women at large institutions are looking for both balance and security through better networks and new opportunities, entrepreneurial women have their sights set on survival and success for 2009. One female CEO says her New Year’s resolution is simply to rise to the top. Her goal, she says, is, “Positioning my company to be profitable in the coming year. My resolution would be to excel in order to stay alive in today’s financial difficulty.”

Lee Caraher, CEO of marketing consulting firm, Double Forte, believes in the power of making resolutions. Her no-nonsense goals for 2009 are designed to ensure her businesses continued success despite slashed budgets and dried up capital. “My resolutions are to act faster, don’t make decisions other people should make, and only keep email that matters.” says Caraher.

We’d love to hear some of your resolutions – professional or personal – for the upcoming year. We look forward to hearing from you here or on our forum!