Career Assessment: to Stay or Go?

By: John Groth

Here it is mid-October and the other day I noticed a well decorated Christmas tree in a department store while the leaves are still on the trees and I was still mowing my grass. Talk about rushing the season. But maybe there's another season that needs to be brought to the present. Instead of waiting until the New Year to perform a thorough career check up, when the holidays and everything else is in the way, it now appears to be an excellent time for you to take a careful look at your career.

How is your career progressing? Where are you now, what do you expect in the near future and are you satisfied with your progress? Is it necessary for a new beginning?

Don't be like a lot of people that make job and career decisions based on only one or two factors. These decisions need to be carefully thought out before you change employers or to go into a different career. If you perform a wide-ranging career evaluation you won't be caught up in making career decisions on superficial slights or minor disparities. There are more important considerations that completely outweigh these minor short term distractions.

Instead of making career decisions based on short term factors like did you get the last promotion, is your current pay competitive or even how well you are getting on with your boss, your career assessment should be based on a whole range of factors. Don't make the mistake of hastily jumping into another job or becoming unemployed and later you have to regret the move.

Here are four basic factors involved in a Career Check-up. Take your time to carefully evaluate each factor.

What is Your Employer's Situation? How well is your employer performing financially? Are sales and market share increasing or decreasing? Is your employer a leader and keeping up to date with the latest trends and technology? Evaluate your company's reputation in your industry and community, and how does this impact your own career goals.

Is Your Career Marketable? What is the current demand for your skills? Be honest with yourself and consult with others in the same position with other employers. Are you up to date with the professional demands of the job and the job one level above you? Examine this factor critically. We all, at one time or another, tend to inflate our skills and job knowledge. What's been the recent experience of others in the same field that elected to change employers?

Is Your Own Professional Career Development on Track? Are your skills being used in your current job? What is your potential for future career growth? Does your present job utilize your interests and strengths? Is your current job challenging? Do you have a say in how your job is performed? Are your ideas sought and listened to? What is your potential to advance further with your current employer? And how does your future at your current employer mesh with your career plan?

What are Your Personal Preferences? Do you enjoy your job? Are most days positive? How do you feel about getting up every day and going to work? Is your job personally satisfying? Have you been thinking about changing jobs?

If you decide your current job and career situation is promising and rewarding, even in the face of minor distractions, this assessment will validate your current position. If you uncover areas that you need to improve, develop a plan to address the short fall. However, if you're faced with mostly negative answers, and there are limits on your career prospects with your current employer, you might consider looking at other employment prospects.

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