With the New Year comes a number of new possibilities, beginnings and a chance for many of us to step back, reflect on our current situations and come up with a number of resolutions and inspirations for the next twelve months.

Not only is this true in our personal lives, but also in the workplace where you may be thinking about taking that next step in your career, looking to improve yourself within your current role, or even starting a whole new career path completely.

Consider the following questions which will help you decide the right things to do and find the right motivation to move your career forwards, onwards and upwards:

Am I an expert in what I do?

  • Would you feel comfortable giving a presentation on your subject to a group of strangers or clients?
  • Can you explain in simple terms what you do? This will help you understand if you truly understand the subject or you’ve simply learned the steps to take to do the work
  • Looking at those around you who do the same role, do you feel you have the same skills sets? Are there additional skills to be learned?
  • Ask yourself “Am I the go to person whenever others have a question about my subject matter”?
  • Do I feel like I still have things to learn?
  • Would I feel confident volunteering to do something outside of my daily work?
  • Have I ever taught someone how to do my job?

If you don’t feel like you’re coming from a position of confidence it may simply be that you need more training.  Consider speaking to your colleagues about the skills and experiences you think you are lacking and ask to be mentored to gain those skills you need or alternatively ask your manager to help you increase your skills; whether that be through internal or external training.

It’s worth noting very few businesses would have an issue with you trying to add value by improving your skills, it’s all about selling why you want to get better so both yourself and the organisation can succeed.

Should I be thinking about going for a promotion?

  • Do you feel challenged by your work or simply busy?
  • Can you justify why/how your value to the business has increased?
  • Is there someone ready to take your place?
  • Have you spoken to management about moving up the chain?
  • Do you know what your next role would or could be?
  • How prepared are you for the responsibilities your next role might bring?

It’s important to make sure you’re ready to move on to the next role within your organisation.  It’s possible to get promoted too early and end up a little out of your depth which can be damaging to your confidence. So make sure you’ve done your homework and understand what a new role would entail and prepare appropriately.

Being challenged in your work is important and generally, if you’re starting to find your job a little easy or repetitive, it’s likely a sign it’s time to move on.  This won’t always mean a promotion. But widening your skill base by working in another area, taking on extra responsibilities or establishing how you can add more value to your business will all be things that will eventually help justify that next career step.

It’s also important to show that you have someone ready to take your place if you’re thought of as indispensable. Otherwise there will be no incentive for the organisation to allow you to do anything else.  Start to share your responsibilities by training others who may have an eye on doing your job. Or, even better, find ways to make your own job quicker, simpler and more efficient; either through automation, smarter working practices or identifying idle tasks that may no longer be required.

It’s a strange paradox, but often finding ways to reduce your workload creatively is a sign you’re able to take on more. Companies often look for individuals who can make things quicker and faster and want to retain that knowledge.

Am I in the right career?

  • Do I look forward to going to work in the morning?
  • Does the work required of me match the skills that I feel I have?
  • Do I care about work after my hours are over?
  • Is it important to me that my customers are happy?
  • Am I getting the right work/ life balance?
  • Am I just a bit stressed right now?
  • Would it bother me if I thought I wasn’t giving 100%?
  • Am I thinking of moving on for the right reasons, or am I just quitting?

Everybody has a bad day, sometimes even a bad week.  That’s okay and doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong career. However, if you find you’re consistently feeling like this work isn’t for you, chances are, it may not be.

It’s worth being aware that everyone has a bedding in period and needs time to learn about what they do.  It may be that things are a little overwhelming at times but if you still have the passion for what you do then stick at it and the chances are it will all come around.

The key thing when considering if you’re in the right career is not to make any rash decisions.  It takes years to build a bridge and only minutes to burn them down.  Make sure you think about your options and talk to people around you. They may be able to give some vital advice, or even offer you opportunities to find your right path within your own organisation.  It gives you the best chance of moving onto something new on the best terms. Who knows, you may realise the grass wasn’t greener and look for opportunities to return, or you may be back in a different role.

If you’re not in the right career, don’t fret.  The question we often ask ourselves is “am I living my best life?” If you can’t honestly say you’re satisfied then consider trying something new. There’s plenty of time in life to try different things and lots of opportunities to find what fits you best.

Good luck!

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