The beginning of the year is a perfect time for reflection. As a society, we spend a lot of time thinking about our health, family, relationships and money. We set specific goals around weight loss, hobbies, savings, leisurely activities and spending time with loved ones amassing a list which is sometimes as long as our arm (I am guilty of this!)
While there is some merit in setting goals around these areas, I’m here to encourage you to also reflect on your professional identity and to set yourself professional goals. Please note that I use the term ‘goal setting’ loosely as my practice as a career psychologist is firmly underpinned by the concepts of Chaos theory which proposes an openness to change coupled with a some sense of direction.
Setting professional goals is especially important for career development in the context of poor performance management systems at work (as a nice lead on from my previous blog post). When companies invest very little time and effort into helping you develop and identify your career aspirations, the onus is left entirely on you.
If you don’t take stock of where you are headed once in a while, you run the risk of becoming stale and stagnant in your career. This can lead to a whole bunch of negative emotions and the feeling of ‘being stuck in a rut’. You want to be able to take charge, set yourself some professional goals and make the necessary changes or improvements. So where do you start?
Some things to ponder:
- When was the last time I felt truly energised and engaged at work, and what was I doing?
- How were my stress levels in the last year? Do I need to work on achieving more of a work life balance?
- Do I want to move up in the company? Or perhaps move laterally?
- What are my interests and how does my job link to these interests?
- How did I go with networking in the last year? Do I want to improve on the quality and/or frequency of my networking pursuits?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses? Is my role utilising my strengths?
- What was my initial reason for choosing to enter my current role, and does the role continue to fulfil that passion/ambition?
- When was the last time I tried something new at work?
- What was the last piece of training I completed? (Is the training out dated? Is it time to up skill or possibly retrain in a different area?)
These are just some of the questions you might want to ask yourself as a way of thinking about the upcoming year. If you identify gaps it may be helpful to think about how much you depend on your job to fulfil those gaps. For example, if you find that your job does not relate to your main interests, ask yourself if this interest is satisfied elsewhere in your life perhaps through your leisurely pursuits.
With a little bit of reflecting and forward thinking, you can make this the best professional year yet!
If you would like to talk to a career psychologist in Sydney more specifically about your career development and future aspirations, contact Career Focus today!