butterfly.jpgWhat better time to rethink your career goals than during the holidays.

I’m serious. You’re seeing friends and family, sharing gifts and cheer. And for many of us it can be a time for self reflection.

I often think about the people I love so much who are no longer here. My inspiring, brilliant father; my loving and kind grandfather; and my tough-minded and warmhearted grandmother.

When I think of them, I’m inspired by the lives they led and I also realize how little time we all have.

“Take a chance!” This could be your career mantra this year, next year, and forever.

If you hate what you were doing, or are doing, or realize the industry you are in is dying, it’s time to think about your next career chapter.

This past year, I was involved in a big career reinvention project for MSNBC.com. The package was filled with advice and first-hand stories about career reinvention. Check it out here.

I asked Alexandra Levit, author of the newly released “New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career” to offer her wisdom.

alex.jpgHere are her reinvention tips for the holidays:

Learn about yourself. Take time over the holidays to do a self-assessment of your values, how you like to work, and what you’d be compelled to do even if you never got paid. Research careers and industries that map to your skills and interests. Hit the Internet, set up informational interviews, or arrange to go onsite at an interesting company in the New Year to learn more.

Don’t be deterred by a lack of experience. Think about how your current skills and talents apply to the responsibilities you’ll hold in the new job. For example, knowledge of project management, client relations, information technology, and sales will take you far in most types of careers.

Ease into a new career one foot at a time. Perhaps this means earning a paycheck at your current job while doing a part-time internship in your new field or taking an adult education class or workshop on the weekend. The only way to find out if you’re passionate about something is to try it – ideally with as little risk as you can manage.

Remember that any progress is good progress. Even confident people stay in unsatisfying jobs because they feel safe, and because they’re afraid of making a bad decision. But in the quest to uncover a source of meaningful work, though, your worst enemy is inertia. Over the holidays, make an effort to do one thing, like e-mailing a networking contact or attending an event – that moves you a bit closer to your big picture goal.

Have realistic expectations. Remember this: even if you’re lucky enough to find your dream job, there’s no such thing as the perfect work situation. Every job has its ups and downs, and aspects we love and aspects we don’t love. And dream job doesn’t mean “cushy” job. As your mom always told you, anything worth having in this world requires some effort.

Do you have a story about your career reinvention? Any advice you can offer?

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