What do you reflect on towards the end of a year? The moments you’ve enjoyed the most, what you’ve achieved and what you want to accomplish over the next year, probably. But do you ever think about reflecting on your career?
Sure you can talk about everything you’ve produced and the projects that have gone really well. But that just comes down to one job alone. What about your plan? What about where you want to be in five years time?
Our careers are such big and important parts of our lives. We need to give it substance and treat it with the same reflection that we do with other things
Last year, I had a Skype session with a career advisor. I was completely stuck and didn’t know what to do. In that call, he gave me one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever heard.
He said I should evaluate my career path each year. Evaluate it in the sense of whether I was happy, how much I was progressing and whether I still wanted to carry on.
If you’re anything like me, you’re not a coaster. You don’t want to stay in the same job role, on the same wage, doing the same thing for the rest of your life, right? Hell no! You want to push yourself with more challenges and more responsibilities. Evaluating your career helps you understand whether you’re on track to achieve this - or whether you need to find new opportunities in other places.
No matter where you are in your career or if your career hasn’t started yet, evaluating where you’ve come and how far you want to go is so important. It keeps you honest about what you want
Last year was the first time I evaluated my career. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t doing the work I enjoyed and I knew at that time it wasn’t the career I wanted.
Six months later, I felt the same way. I took this as a sign to evaluate again. That’s when I found the job I’m in now which is the best job I could hope and wish for.
So even though you might not realise it, you could be in a place now where you’re living passively through your career. You might think that there’s no point in making a change, or you’ve been there so long now that it doesn’t matter. Or worse - that it’s too late.
It’s never too late.
I used to think of my career as just jobs. Not an actual career. Now I think differently. And I think you should too.
Today, I want to talk you through the questions I ask myself when I want to reflect on my career. Make a brew, sit somewhere comfy, get a notepad or your laptop and get ready to dig deep.
Where do you start when you’re reflecting on your career? The beginning
Think back to where you were at the start of this year and answer these questions. Take your time thinking about them.
Am I happy in my current role?
What would I need to make me more fulfilled in my career?
How can I go about getting this?
What do you see as your biggest achievement in your career this year?
What three things do you believe you were outstanding at this year?
What praise and recognition did you receive from others?
What do you wish had gone better during your career this year?
Do you want more success?
What were you weakest at this year?
What actions do you need to take to improve this?
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt this year?
How have you been challenged over the course of this year?
What’s the next step? Reflecting on the future
Once you’ve thought about what’s happened in your career over the past year, that’s when you also need to think about the future. Now, this can get scary. For me, it’s really scary. I’m at the stage where I’m saving for a house. After that it’ll be starting a family. I need to plan in my career to be in a position for all of this to happen at the right time. It’s scary thinking so far ahead. But it also means I want big things for myself.
So to help you at this stage, here are some of the questions you can answer.
What’s the biggest thing you want to achieve in your career this year?
What other things would you like to accomplish?
What will mean success to you?
What’s your biggest goal?
Where do you see yourself in three months, six months and at the end of the next year?
What support do you need?
I would be happy and fulfilled in my career at the end of this year if…
I find that the more detailed I am the better. Write abut your ideal work day, your environment, the people you work with, the type of work you’re doing, what your boss would be like. Everything. You want to make sure you’re looking at your career with the right attitude and this exercise will help you do that.
The best thing you can do is visualise. Can you see yourself at the next step and what are the steps you need to take to get there? You need to be able to see in your head how you’re going to get there. Whatever you want to accomplish it can all be done. Everything you learn you can use to help mould your career in the future. This will mean you’re starting the new year with motivation, focus and drive.
And you know, a new work wardrobe never hurt anyone ;)
Are you planning on reflecting on your career ready for the new year? What's the biggest thing you'll take away from this post? Let's chat in the comments