Do you feel stuck in your job? Do you feel extra stress during the day, and then spend nights rehashing everything that you experienced during the day? It could be that you’re in the wrong job – or simply in need of a change to the way you manage your daily tasks. For example, in your current career, the next logical career step may be a promotion to management. But have you really thought through what the job would be like, and whether it’s something you would be good at and enjoy? What’s logical for others isn’t necessarily right for you.
It’s important to spend time like this reflecting on your situation. If it’s time to take the next career step, you should make that determination sooner rather than later. The first step to self-improvement is to ask yourself questions, evaluate your current situation, make goals and career development strategies, and then set forth to make those goals happen. Our team detailed some important questions that everyone should ask themselves from time to time – especially if they’re not feeling satisfied at the end of the workday.
1. Do I like what I’m doing now?
Set aside time to ask yourself this basic question. Think about your day, your week, and the last several months. Were you truly happy? When were you not happy, and what was the cause? How often were you happy, and why?
Think about how you got to this point in your career. What led to your current position? Were you career strategy planning, or did it happen accidentally? If you could change a decision or career move that brought you to this point, what decision would that be? Why?
Although you may think that you have to follow a predictable career path to reach success, being promoted up the ranks may not make you happier. As you ascend the internal job ladder, you’re often charged with doing less and less of what you joined the company to do, as you take on more and more management responsibility.
If your background and training are in website design, for example, and you love spending your time designing, does it necessarily follow that you’ll love supervising others who are designing? If the answer is no, you may want to figure out ways to take on a larger role within the discipline itself, rather than managing others. Maybe your company could promote you to lead designer for its most important client rather than promoting you from design to management.
2. Do I feel that I need a career change?
Ask yourself these questions: do I need a career change and if so, what’s my next move?
As you think about the answers, notice your feelings deep down inside. Is it anxiety? Excitement? Dread? Happiness? This could be a clue to what actions you need to take to improve your life.
In today’s job market, you may feel that you can’t be too choosy about accepting a new opportunity. And it’s true that practicality and financial realities need to be a big part of your career puzzle. But if you think only of practicality and not of your own needs and life stage when it comes to making career decisions, you may find yourself unhappy and back to square one quickly anyway.
Think about whether a change in your job or career sounds more exciting or more exhausting. Though any change will contain seeds of both, if the thought of making a change right now does not inspire you, it’s okay to stay put. Jobs ebb and flow, and when you’re in the flow, just go with it. Change will come your way soon enough, so don’t feel pressured to make or take opportunities before you are ready for them.
3. What are my career goals?
Start managing the next steps in your career. You can do this by setting short-term and long-term goals. For this step, it’s helpful to consult with a career coach. Career coaching can help you effectively create a master plan, all with the goal of moving up the ladder, finding the right industry for you, or making your career what you want it to be.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll have a hard time getting there. Yet many people don’t take the time to think through their long-term goals and map out intermediate steps to ensure progress toward them. When it comes to thinking about whether or not to take a certain opportunity, view it through the lens of your larger goals. Think about what you hope to be doing 5 or 10 years from now. If the opportunity in front of you won’t get you there, then don’t take it.
4. What’s the best career path to get where I want to go?
Once you’ve set goals, then it’s time for the fun part: setting a path to help you achieve your goals. Your journey should be made up of milestones. Every time you complete a goal, you’re a little closer to success.
Many people struggle to create their avenues for professional success. Working with a career coach can help. Career coaches can help identify strengths and weaknesses, point you to training that will lead you in the right direction, and decide what areas need improvement in order to achieve your goals.
All of the above questions lead to this last one. Once you know what you like, what career stage you’re in, and what your goals are, what remains is deciding how to get to your preferred destination. There’s likely more than one path you can choose to reach your goal, and at the same time, some paths will lead you in the wrong direction. Take the time to discover which is which.
Get to Where You Want to Be With Mark Strong
You don’t have to question these decisions by yourself. Through one-on-one coaching, Strong Training & Coaching can help you create definable goals, actions, and help you experience forward movement with built-in accountability in your career. Our career coaches help individuals create a strategy for improvement, help them walk through goals, and help them reflect on creating goals that make sense for their needs.