Career moves to make in 2021

Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in CNN’s Work Transformed newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free, here.

We’ve got some big plans for you, 2021.

If 2020 left you feeling like all you did was tread water at work, let’s make reigniting your career the goal for the new year.

I spoke with experts to get their best career resolutions for next year. Here’s what they had to say:

Think big, plan small. It’s fine to want to make huge changes to your career, but break the goal into smaller steps. Hitting the smaller goals will motivate you and keep you on track.

Jump start your networking game. Love it or hate it, networking is important to career success. Look for virtual events to meet people in your current field (or your dream profession). To help make the process less awkward, one expert recommended having a 30-second elevator pitch ready, as well as some go-to questions to ask new people.

Reestablish boundaries. Many of us have at least a few more months of working at home, so let’s take the time to reestablish work-life boundaries. Set boundaries with your employer, family and (ahem) yourself by being clear about when you’re on and off the clock.

Get more career tips for the new year here.

Another pandemic fallout: forced retirement

The pandemic-crushed job market is forcing many older Americans to retire earlier than expected.

While some jobs have come back, the recovery has been uneven.

Participation rates for older workers and women have been slower to recover, according to an economist at Goldman Sachs.

The labor force participation rate (which is the percentage of people either employed or actively looking for work) was 61.5% last month. That’s 1.9 percentage points lower than the February rate, reports CNN Business’ Anneken Tappe.

Being forced into early retirement can have long-term economic effects, like lower Social Security benefits, less time to increase savings, and expensive health care options. And it can be harder to return to the job market after a forced exit.

WFH tip: Treat home like the office

Working from home adds a layer of flexibility to our schedules, but don’t get too comfortable. Here’s a tip from productivity expert Laura Stack:

It’s important to treat your home office like you would your ‘real’ office. If you wouldn’t leave at 2:00 to go get your nails done in the office, don’t do it while working at home. If you wouldn’t lie down at 3:00 pm for a cat nap at work, don’t do it at home. You’ll be far more productive if you apply a disciplined attitude to your work, now that your home IS your office.

Occupational hazard

The number of fatal work injuries increased in 2019.

There were 5,333 fatal work injuries in 2019, the largest annual number since 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported. Put another way: A worker died every 99 minutes from a work-related injury.

Workers in the fishing and hunting industry had the highest mortality rates per 100,000 full-time workers with 145 deaths per 100,000 people, reports CNN’s Scottie Andrew.

Being on the road while on the clock can be dangerous: Nearly one out of every five fatally injured workers was employed as a driver/sales worker or truck driver, according to the report.

Read more about dangerous jobs here.

Executive resolutions

While we’re talking about resolutions, here’s what some business leaders are pledging in the new year:

2020 has taught us all about the importance of human connectivity… My intention in 2021 is to redouble efforts to ensure we have the dialogue, engagement, and shared purpose that all businesses need to fulfill their missions and to be great places to work. Humanity and empathy ARE good business. Here’s to even more in 2021!Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America

My work resolution for 2021 is to take all my meetings at my walking treadmill desk. It’s very easy to get heads-down in work and sit in a chair all day, but I also know that moving around is important — and frankly, something that I absolutely need for my mental health. Not only will this help me make sure I’m moving, but this will also push me to think more creatively while also inspiring others at Klaviyo to make sure they’re putting their health and wellness first, too. –Jenny Dearborn, chief people officer at Klaviyo

I want to start 2021 by making a point of connecting one-on-one, with as many individuals on my team as possible. I want them to know they are valued and appreciated as we work through these challenging times and show that I recognize the tremendous contribution they have made to Quotient. We wouldn’t be here without their hard work, dedication and perseverance, and there has never been a more important time to tell them that. –Renee Cutright, chief people officer at Quotient

Coffee break

A 1969 “Beach Bomb” Volkswagen bus could be worth as much as $150,000.

Oh and did I mention it’s a Hot Wheels toy?

Yep, Hot Wheels’ first version of the Beach Bomb had lifelike proportions scaled down to 1/64 the size of the real van, complete with two tiny surfboards sticking out the back window, reports CNN Business’ Peter Valdes-Dapena.

And while the toy van looked really cool, this initial prototype didn’t handle well and needed to be completely redesigned.

Read more about the collector who has this one-of-a-kind prototype, plus a lot more in his vast (and valuable) Hot Wheels collection.

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