Three Reasons You Need to Take Stock of Your Career This Fall
After all of the excitement of summer with days on the beach, family barbecues, and vacations to relaxing places, the colder, shorter days of fall have arrived. For many of us, it heralds the beginning of the time of year when we prefer to stay indoors with a book or a favorite TV show.
If this sounds like you, then why not put some of your evenings and weekends to good use and take stock of your career?
Maybe you’re thinking, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather binge watch Game of Thrones.” That’s a valid response, since it’s important to relax and re-energize for work. However, there are (at least) three very good reasons to dedicate a couple of hours to assessing your career:
1. It will show you where you stand so you can determine how to move forward. While there are usually multiple paths to a career goal, it’s still necessary to know which path you’re on and where you are in order to plan your next move. Some people stay in a position because they like their colleagues or the company, and that’s fine… until their career stalls. Remember: just like your company needs to remain competitive in your industry, you need to remain competitive in the job market—and that means you have to continuously advance and grow.
2. It allows you to evaluate if you’re really happy. Oftentimes, once you’ve landed a job and grown used to the responsibilities, autopilot kicks in and you don’t spend much time considering whether you’re happy or not. After all, you have a steady job, a paycheck, and benefits, right? However, truly being passionate about your work can dramatically improve both your professional performance and your quality of life. Moreover, admitting there are things you’re not happy with doesn’t automatically mean you have to look for a new job. It’s perfectly possible that you can make the necessary changes in your current position.
3. It can give you insights into opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise recognize. For example, you might realize that you’ve gained enough experience in a particular area to start leading projects, or you might suddenly see how working on a specific account could give you a more in-depth understanding of a particular aspect of your professional field.
Now you know why you should take stock, how do you go about doing it? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where do you stand relative to your ultimate career objective?
- What would a logical next step be?
- Are you happy in your current position? If so, why? If not, why not?
- What would have to change to make you happy?
- What are your professional strengths? Are you able to use them in this position?
- What skills do you need to acquire or hone in order to advance?
- What opportunities are available to you now?
- What opportunities will become available if you acquire more knowledge and expand your skill set?
Once you’ve answered these questions honestly and comprehensively, you should have all the information you need for the next step in your career. But before you take that step, make sure to bring all of your career documentation up to date. As Lisa Skeete Tatum advises in her Forbes article “6 Tips for Revitalizing and Reinvigorating Your Career Today,” you need to update your résumé and online profiles, as well as your portfolio (if applicable).
Regularly taking stock of your career is critical to ensuring you’re progressing in the direction you want to go. It only takes one or two evenings to make a difference that you’ll thank yourself for later!