The phrase “Make hay while the sun is out” is a proverb which originated with English farmers in medieval times. Hay is dried wheat or grass used as food for farm animals. Centuries ago, without modern machinery, it would take several days for a farmer to cut, dry and collect the hay. Since hay gets destroyed if it becomes too wet, the farmers would take advantage of sunny weather and use that time to cut and gather the hay.
Therefore, make hay while the sun shines began as a sensible and practical piece of farming advice. However, the idiom soon began to be used by the general public to emphasize that you should take advantage of good circumstances before the opportunity vanishes.
What does this have to do with your career you may ask? Well it's obvious. We are in a great economy for skilled professionals and corporate profits are healthy. In the world of work, "the sun is out" like it's never been before. So why are you NOT making hay? Hay refers to salary increase of course, but it can also include increased responsibility or exposure, upgraded title, more vacation time, flexible work schedule, better commute. The list is endless for what "Hay" may be in your life, but one thing is certain: the window on this economy won't last forever.
Here are a few things you can do start living out this proverbial message:
1. Network. Find out what's out there, before your company gets acquired or moved out of state like so many are these days.
2. Speak with veteran recruiters. Like us or not, we have a pretty good line to many companies and are able to learn
valuable information that is not going to be available to you.
3. Re-connect with old co-workers or supervisors who you trust or had great relationships with. This is a great way to find out what's going on outside of your company and could be a path to a transition for you if that's your goal.
4. If you can't get a raise ask for more training from your current employer. You'll be more valuable to them and yourself.
5. Share your knowledge. They say you don't really know something unless you can teach it to others. Write a blog or join an online group in your field and contribute to the conversation.