How closely does your present job mesh with your long-term goals? If you want a career—a satisfying career—rather than just a job, you have to plan and build it. To help yourself project into the future, you need to get a fresh perspective on what you are doing now. The more realistic your analysis of yourself and of your present job, the more likely it is that you can set achievable goals, and begin to take the steps necessary to reach them.
There are three questions that you should ask yourself periodically:
- What am I doing now that I don’t have to do, or don’t want to do?
- What am I not doing that I would like to do?
- Where do I want to be in five years? Ten years?
Follow the questions with these exercises:
- Suppose that for some reason you have to quit your job. What is the one thing about it that you would hate to give up? Write your answer down. Then note the thing you would next most regret leaving behind, and continue until you’ve covered all the aspects of your job you would hate to let go.
- Now jot down the five most important responsibilities your job entails. Rank them in order of importance, then in order of enjoyment. Do these entries jibe with your “most hate to give up” list?
- Put down everything about your job that you talk about most often, including the things you say when someone asks you to describe your job.
Relate the above data to your career goals. New responsibilities may open up new opportunities. But the essence of using a job to mold a career remains the same: forging solid links between the present and the future that you want to have.