If you’ve ever been on a trip and lost your way, you know the disorientation and even fear you have felt until you got your bearings again. Sometimes you can lose your way in your career, too. Perhaps you didn’t have a clear goal in the first place; a family or personal crisis caused a detour; or the current economic downturn has forced a change in your career.
– – – – –
Read and check the statements below that are true for you in your current or most recent job:
- I feel reluctant to start projects or push them forward; I’m not interested in making calls or in widening my connections within and outside the organization.
- I sometimes feel a sense of powerlessness, that I’m not making and acting on decisions that matter.
- I don’t feel listened to in meetings, and my ideas don’t seem valued.
- My daily efforts are mostly predictable, routine, and lack challenge or opportunity for learning.
- My role isn’t in the mainstream; it’s marginalized.
- I don’t feel compensated adequately or proportionately compared with others of similar experience and training.
- I often feel stress or anxiety about my performance.
- I frequently function at low energy, and regularly feel discouraged, cynical, and pessimistic.
- It iseems like what I’m doing doesn’t matter beyond immediate business goals; my work doesn’t contribute to the needs of others.
- I find myself in conflict with co-workers; most of my initiatives are not received well.
- I seem to be falling behind my peers at other organizations or in different careers in terms of responsibility, earnings, excitement, and opportunity.
- I feel drained, “burned out”; I don’t really care about my assignments, co-workers, and/or customers.
Now count the number of check marks. The lower the number, the more satisfied and focused you probably feel about work. The higher the number, the more lost, disconnected or frustrated you may feel.
– – – – –
Finding Your Way Again
To regain your career bearings, know and leverage your strengths. Noticing your natural talents and building on these is essential for career satisfaction and success. Waldroop and Butler argue that it’s a far wiser investment to build on your strengths than to shore up your weaknesses.
Notice what naturally draws your interest. Activities that cause you to lose track of time, along with your favorite websites, magazines, books, and people, for example, are all good clues.
Pay attention to what you care about. What pulls at your heart can: 1) Provide clues about fields or industries that might be more satisfying; 2) Help bridge an experience gap on the way to a job or career change; and 3) Broaden your ability to build connections with others.
Ask a friend to help you look for themes and patterns and common threads in your enjoyable successes. Getting someone else’s perspective is a huge help in identifying what you take for granted.
– – – –
Your strengths and interests can be assets in your current work or beyond. Getting back on a rewarding career path may be a matter of new assignments, a transfer within your current firm, a company or industry change, or a new career field altogether. Once you have your bearings again, pursuing a rewarding path is invigorating and worth your effort.
Thanks to the following people for referrals:
Ron Pennington, Rob Henke, and Mark Williams.
Consider a CAP (Career Action Planning) Session if you:
- Feel stuck or stalled in your career
- Are worried about a layoff
- Wonder if it’s not just a new job but a new career you need
- Have been looking for work but not getting results
In this 90-120 minute meeting, we can get to the root of your career problem and come up with a plan to solve it. Contact me for more information.
Would you like to receive this newsletter by email every other month?
Complete the Contact Form to subscribe