The lunar new year is a good time to take stock of your career and develop some plans for it. This is particularly important if you feel in any way that your job is not a good “fit” for you, or that you have little or no passion for it, or you no longer experience any challenges in it. Even if everything seems to be ok with your current job, your career will still benefit from an occasional stock-take.
Most people unfortunately do not have a career plan – instead they ‘drift’ from job opportunity to job opportunity, and while this can work out alright a lot of the time, they miss out on obtaining the jobs and positions that would give them more satisfaction and fulfilment. To ensure happiness and fulfilment in your career, you need to take control of its direction.
If you don’t already know the type of work, responsibilities and environment that will be most satisfying for you, you should talk to a career coach who will assist you in identifying these [see articles on this site in relation to finding career direction] – this issue is beyond the scope of this article.
If you think that you are in the right career for you, and even the right job, taking stock of where you are and developing a plan for where you want your career to head in the next five or so years will be invigorating. Here is what you can do.
Revisit your job description and determine if you are currently carrying out all the tasks and responsibilities detailed in it. If not, should you be? If doing more, then you have a case for a salary increase or a promotion. From the person specification, have you got all of the main and desirable requirements to do the job excellently? If not, the deficiencies are the basis of your career development plan and you should talk to your boss about how you can obtain the skills and/or experience needed.
Before seeking promotion, you should ensure that you are currently carrying out your job in an excellent manner.
Then you should look to the future. Where do you want to be in your career in five years’ time? Is that position just one step above your current one? If not, you need to identify a position (or positions) that would be a stepping-stone to it. Identify the requirements in terms of qualifications, skills and experience needed to be eligible for your desired position(s). Again, the gap between your current qualifications, skills and experience, and those required for your next position, form the basis of your development plan. At your next performance appraisal, the gaps you identify for both your current and next position jobs are what you tell your manager you need to develop over the next couple of years.
This exercise will give your career direction and a development plan. Have a great new year!