Employed? Unemployed? Underemployed? To progress in your career you must think differently then the average person. You don’t really have to love your job but you better be passionate about what you want in a job (whether you are looking for a new job or not).
Evaluate your role at current organization. Evaluate your future with your organization or a new organization. Analyze new work opportunities for long-term success. Think about changing jobs or you are unemployed? What if you are setting goals for the new year and thinking about making a change? Aren’t we all supposed to just be happy with what we have in this unstable work and economic climate? Isn’t that the refrain of the day? “No, don’t even think about making a change; we’re in a recession!” But you are allowed to be unhappy and dissatisfied and, better yet, hungry to pursue happiness. Aren’t we in the United States?
If you are not satisfied in your current job then you need to ask key questions. Don’t wait until the skies clear to do it. As one job said to me last week: “I am going to wait until the holidays are over and see if the economy picks up.” That thought process is just like shoving your career gear into neutral and hitting the gas.
Get out of neutral. If you are not finding success in job search you need to dig deeper and ask key questions. What matters to you and what your future holds must be worked on now. Procrastinating into the new year about making a change and taking action will just keep you at in neutral. Even if you feel you are in survival mode you must look ahead and have a little faith in your future and your ability to control it.
At the end of 2011 you may be feeling the holiday blues, knowing that change for the better despite the worrisome nature of the economy must be pursued (whether your status is working full-time, contract, part-time, or unemployed). This feeling of change could be related to you looking for a job or having a job that may not be ideal. If you have a job chances are you work harder today than in the past. If you don’t have a job you may really feel the pinch of holiday nerves when getting around the family or trying to do last minute things to keep your name in front of key hiring decision makers.
As one of my executive clients recently said at our weekly networking meeting called Executives In Transition: “I don’t just want a job I want a career or an opportunity to make a difference out there and use more of the skill sets that make me want to get up in the morning.”
In a seemingly ongoing bad news cycle on the economy and unstable economic outlook it’s hard to have any perspective at all about your situation. If your situation doesn’t “feel” right then it may be time to take specific action steps to advance your career. Don’t just be happy to make it. 2012 can be your year to shine.
But if you are thinking about changing jobs or careers or know you need to make a change ask yourself some key questions. These questions help you evaluate what matters to you in an opportunity. Today it’s too easy to push to just try to keep your job instead of analyzing what may make you happiest at your job. For more information about this subject read the just-published 2011 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement research report from the Society of Human Resources Management.
So take out a piece of paper or write down some answers to these questions on your computer or laptop. Dig deep and find out what matters to you and whether what you are doing to change things for the better. If you know things won’t get better then find out what you want most or what kinds of job attitudes will make you happy in a next role.
Ask these questions if you are quietly looking for a new job or considering a job change in 2012:
1. Will I have the opportunity to use my skills and abilities in this job?
2. How important is my relationship with an immediate supervisor or leader to ensure job satisfaction?
3. What kind of culture of communication is promoted at this company and how do employees and senior management work together?
4. How much does autonomy and independence matter to me in my next role?
5. What is the organization’s overall financial stability?
6. What does the organization do for flexibility in terms of work life balance and work issues and do they have alternative work arrangements?
7. How will management or leadership recognize me for a job well done?
8. In what ways is this new position or opportunity recession-proof?
9. How much reassurance do I have that I will be able to do the career advancement and career development I need to remain excellent at what I will do?
10. What kind of satisfaction will I feel about my current and future earnings (compensation, pay and incentives)?
11. In what ways does my work positively and directly impact others?
12. Does the organization emphasize social responsibility, integrity and ongoing relationships with internal and external stakeholders?
After an honest look ahead and soul-searching you may want to consider investing time and effort in creating a plan of action to move out of neutral in your job search or your career as it stands. Don’t wait for the nebulous “economic turnaround” to get you into gear. Get into gear now and think about what makes you happy and motivated to work.
Image Credit: instantshift.com