We generally do a fair amount of reflection as the New Year approaches which may include career reflection. We think about New Year’s resolutions, sometimes develop a different perspective on our lives. Sometimes part of that reflecting is about our career choices. Looking at where we are in achieving our career goals and determining if this is still the right role for us now is a healthy part of our progression.
So, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself when trying to evaluate your career progression. Think about the short term and long term goals you set for yourself. Where am I in terms of meeting my goals? Did I think this is where I would be at this stage of my career? Am I happy at work? Do I feel good about my contributions?
We all have a set of values, things that are important to us, things we hold dear. It’s natural to look at the nature of your work and see if it is consistent with that value system. If you love animals and work in a animal hospital, that feels great. You see animals being treated and their quality of life getting better because of something your organization does. It’s a rewarding feeling every day. If you work for a company that treats their employees well, recognizes your contributions, it’s a good feeling. You respect the leaders of the company and think they are ethical people with compassion, then it creates a positive work environment. If learning is very important to you and you feel stuck in your job, obviously that is not aligned with one of your values.
Once you have a chance to honestly evaluate your situation, then you can set some goals for the New Year. They can be dramatic goals like changing jobs or smaller goals like more involvement in different types of projects. Unless you’ve decided you are in an unhealthy work situation or are really unhappy, setting some smaller goals before making major changes may just be what you need. Perhaps you let your manager know what else you want to be involved in so (s)he can keep you in mind for those particular work assignments.
Companies do post a number of jobs internal so you may want to start looking at those job opportunities. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will make a move. It’s more about keeping your options open and seeing what sparks your interest. It’s less of a major shift than moving to a whole new company altogether.
Tracking Your Progress
Whatever goals you set, you want to hold yourself accountable. Set realistic goals and timelines for yourself. Perhaps you can do it with a colleague so you can each keep the other going and on the right track.
Your job is an important part of your life. You spend so many hours at work and deserve to be fulfilled. Taking the time to engage in career reflection and set goals is a great way to start the New Year.