If you’ve ever been on a trip and lost your way (even with GPS it can happen), you know the disorientation — and maybe even fear — you felt until you found your bearings again. Sometimes you can lose your way in your career, too.
Perhaps your career just happened: goals were unclear in the first place; a family or personal crisis caused a detour; or the recent recession forced an unexpected change.
Read the statements below and check those that are true for you.
♦ My daily work activities are mostly predictable, routine, and lack challenge or opportunity for learning.
♦ The job I have is far from what I ever imagined, and not in a good way.
♦ My role isn’t significant; it’s marginalized.
♦ I often worry about my work performance.
♦ Compared to my friends, I seem to be falling behind in terms of responsibility, earnings, excitement, and opportunity.
♦ I feel undervalued for the contributions I make (appreciation and/or earnings).
♦ If I could do my college and first job over again, I’d do things VERY differently, and in a heartbeat!
♦ It seems that what I’m doing doesn’t matter beyond immediate business goals; my work doesn’t contribute to the needs of others.
♦ I feel drained, “burned out”; I’ve lost interest in my assignments, co-workers, and/or customers.
♦ I’m concerned that my career goals and dreams are unattainable or a long shot at best.
♦ “Follow your passion” is a common phrase. I don’t know what my passion is, or it’s not possible to earn a living doing what I’m passionate about.
The more items you checked, the more likely it is that you feel adrift in your career. Recognizing your disengagement is the first step to finding your way.
– – – – –
Finding Your Way Again
To regain your career bearings:
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.
Know and leverage your strengths. Noticing your natural talents and building on these is essential for career satisfaction and success. Researcher and author Marcus Buckingham argues that it’s a far wiser investment to build on your strengths than to shore up your weaknesses.
Ask a friend to help you look for themes and patterns and common threads in your enjoyable successes. Getting someone else’s perspective is important in identifying what you take for granted.
Consider enlisting the help of a career counselor. Meeting with a competent professional can help you identify your career assets and map out a way to get on course.
Getting re-oriented may be a matter of new assignments, a transfer within your firm, a company or industry change, or a new career field altogether. Once you have your bearings, pursuing a rewarding career is invigorating and invites sustained effort. Now is the time to begin!
♦ ♦ ♦
FREE ONLINE JOB SEARCH WEBINARS
Take a look at the schedule for free upcoming job search webinars offered by Jack Chapman and Steve Frederick, wise and experienced career coaches in Chicago. (Jack, the author of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute, was my mentor in developing my career counseling practice.)
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.
For more information call me at 314-752-1373 or use the contact form on my website.