Categories: Career Development

Career Review 2017: What Went Well and What Can You Improve?

Whether it’s satisfying, mundane, or seriously in need of a change, your professional life certainly intersects with your personal one. It shapes much more than the obvious finances, for how you start and end each shift or assignment also shapes your character. As 2017 draws to a close, it’s important to conduct an in-depth career review to determine what works, what needs improvement, and what may be clear signs to leave and start anew. Follow these steps to jump into the new year with a clear outline for what you need to be happy, fulfilled, and successful.

Reflect on the Good

Think back through the year to when you did things that were really great – met a deadline early, exhibited superior customer service, helped secure a terrific client. Scroll through your social media to see if you mentioned noteworthy accomplishments, or posted about it to family or friends. Don’t fret though, if you haven’t had any big moments, either because of the nature of your job or because of extenuating circumstances. Take all achievements into account as you compile this year in review, no matter how little, such as assisting a colleague, getting everything done within a reasonable time frame, or even just never being late.

Analyze Disappointments and Frustrations

This is where you take an in-depth look at how strong or how weak your level of job satisfaction is, and how it affects other aspects of your life. Were there times that you were less enthused about going to work, or focused more on counting down the hours until going home, rather than letting the time play itself out? Remain as comprehensive with this part of the analysis as you were with noting the positives, and include every instance that produced disappointment, stress, anxiety, or anger. Make note if these are minor nuisances (sharing work space with someone who has an irritating personality), or something more grievous (physically or psychologically uncomfortable environment), and what resolutions, if any, were applied.

Determine if You’re Just Going through the Motions

Here’s the middle ground that’s at the core of how you feel about your job, and if a different career is worth considering. Maybe there aren’t any issues at work, but there aren’t any “Yeah!” moments either. You’re in a routine that doesn’t do much more for you on a daily basis than earn money to pay bills. Sure, salary is often a strong factor when talking about improving job satisfaction, but it isn’t the only factor to consider. Yes, you need to meet your financial obligations, but you need to be challenged, excited, and engaged by your job for real professional fulfillment.

Compare Results to Expectations

Compare Results to Expectations

At this point, it’s time to compare the pros and cons to what you first hoped for at the beginning of the year or when you started this job, and if anything can be corrected. Is there any way to shorten a commute? Can you do some of your responsibilities remotely? Will management be receptive to ideas for strengthening teamwork, streamlining the chain of communications, and implementing steps that enhance morale and productivity? Ask yourself if you would leave if another opportunity arose, and why you would do so, or why you are resigned to remain at a job that isn’t gratifying. According to a Harvard Business Review article on why employees stay, reasons include dependency upon benefits, pressure, and uncertainty about a career change at their age.

On the flip side, the following are common reasons why people are inclined to look elsewhere for employment. If you can place a percentage of these into your professional review, then it’s time to reset your job path:

  • Inflexible schedule: Schedules that cannot be accommodated for important dates, appointments, or when life happens and unexpectedly throws a curveball
  • Not enough tasks
  • Task that are beyond your skills or are too much to handle at one given time
  • Promotions given to lesser qualified employees
  • Difficult or questionable management
  • Inability to take vacation time
  • Gossip: Contributing to lackluster drive and performance, workplace drama is one of those circumstances as mentioned above that may impede accomplishments
  • Office politics: As with gossip, office politics can impact your productivity, and may not be worth the participation. Although navigating these waters may at times seem positive, tread cautiously
  • Lack of respect, encouragement, equality, and feedback
  • Incompetent practices that generate concerns over job security
  • Business ethics that conflict with your personal beliefs
  • No rewards, incentives, or opportunities for advancement
  • Inadequate salary: How does your salary compare to others with the same title?
  • Feeling invisible: Not being listened to or sufficiently acknowledged, thus not believing that your presence has a purpose

Re-Evaluate Yourself and Create a Career Plan for the Next Year

Never feel it’s too late to make a change, or have age define you. If you do like what you do, but simply not at your current place of employment, take advantage of social media contacts and start to network. Or if you would like to expand your professional development and try something different, go for it! Often times, people lose sight of what their original passions were, or get sidetracked into other jobs to meet financial and family obligations quicker, or to do what’s expected of them by others.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 4 percent of the working population — 6.2 million people in the US — moved into a different occupation or career group between 2015 and 2016, so if you are thinking about changing careers, you’re not alone. If the idea of switching professions seems daunting, take baby steps – search for free classes online, engage in volunteer work that’s similar to a possible new job, or perhaps pick up a few part-time hours at a related endeavor.

If you’re seriously considering changing your career, applying for a new job in the same field, don’t neglect your negotiating skills. Whether you’re negotiating a job offer at a start-up or trying to deal with a lowball salary offer, your analytical and negotiating skills are what will land you the right job with the best salary and benefits package.

Alternatively, you may prefer to set up a one year career plan that incorporates a break from work altogether and time to nurture talents, rest, and have adventures. Break up the career plan into ¼ and ½ year steps, where you can set smaller objectives. Seize the moment to finally learn more about who you truly are and what really fulfills you professionally.

Utilize Paysa Tools to Establish Your Career Goals

Take all of this year’s work experiences, and develop a set of career goals to best meet your definition of accomplishment. Learn from the good and the bad, and how to recognize your place within a chosen field. If you’re thinking about retraining or switching fields, take a look at our salary tool. Using this tool, you can find out how your current salary stacks up against the average for your job, find out how much you could be earning at your ideal company, and how much you could earn if you move to another area or switch careers.

Sign up for a free account here at Paysa and use our tool to find out just what you’re worth based on your skills, experience, and education. Take a look at our job board listings for roles that provide the salary and benefits packages that meet your needs and work that sparks your interest. And, when the search proves successful, use our evaluate a job offer tool to make sure you’re on the track to success in 2018.


New Year, New Career: How to Prepare Yourself for a Successful Career Change in 2018

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Author: Paysa