“To determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study” is how Merriam-Webster defines the word EVALUATE. While the holiday season is a time of giving thanks, we should also use this time for career evaluation. Taking a few moments to carefully study where you are in your career relative to the goals you set could mean the difference in you getting that pay increase or that promotion. This post will lay out effective steps to help you in your career evaluation.
Self-evaluation is the most important and most neglected step. For whatever reason, self-evaluation always seems to take a back seat to other priorities. Busy schedules, family obligations and Netflix are some prime suspects as to why finding time is so difficult. So, how do you break the cycle? First and foremost, you must MAKE the time. Earmark at least one hour on your calendar for this exercise. If you do not have time during the normal course of the workday, try waking up an hour before work or perhaps reserving an hour before you go to bed. If that is difficult because of other commitments, try using the time you have for lunch. The key here is making sure that you give yourself dedicated time to focus on asking yourself a few questions:
1) Based on where I thought I would be five years ago, am I meeting that standard or am I far off? If I am off, how far off the mark am I?
2) Do I see myself progressing in this career or is it stagnant?
3) Does the industry I am working in still give me pleasure? Is there another industry that I could more effectively use my skills?
4) Where do I want to be in the next five years and how do I get there?
You may not have thought about some of these questions in a long time. If you don’t have a goal, then you will need to establish one. Several studies have proven that unwritten goals will not be achieved. Sit down, make time and outline your objectives. You are the only one in charge of your career and nobody will or should care more than you.
Evaluate Your Management
There is an outdated notion that management chooses candidates and management is the one in control. In today’s marketplace, the dynamic has shifted. Top talent chooses where they want to work based on several factors. Companies and their managers need to find new and innovative ways to interact with their workforce, or they will sustain high attrition rates and a poor industry reputation that ultimately will lead to a decrease in the bottom line. Managers are rarely taught, so finding a good one is really the luck of the draw. I’ve heard of some managers who believe that moving employee’s seats around the office every six months is a way to “see everybody,” or “get the juices flowing.” Clearly moving seats around the office is not a long-term strategy. Management should be committed to ensuring that business objectives are achieved and their employees are happy. Here are a few things you should be looking for when evaluating your management:
1) Is management encouraging a culture of openness and honesty that allows for varying viewpoints?
2) Does management listen to the people they hire?
3) Is there diversity in culture and thought in your organization?
Companies that rely on the old homogeneous way of doing things will be left behind.
Evaluate Your Options
Finally, after going through the exercises above, it is important to evaluate your options and devise a plan. If you have reached the conclusion that you need to switch industries, you will need to determine the best companies in that industry. Seek them out and develop relationships with managers. If you are in a toxic culture, find your way out! You will only hurt yourself in the long run if you spend too many years being infected by management that is not truly invested in your career growth and development. If you conclude that additional education may be in the best interest of your career, begin the process of considering those options. Find out if your company has tuition reimbursement and if they do – utilize it!
Evaluation is something that should be integrated into your work life as well as your personal life. Once you complete an evaluation, you may find that a change is necessary. If so, devise a plan and act! Inaction and complacency is where most people fail. They choose to stay in a situation that is not good for them because they are comfortable. You control your career and you control what happens.
There is no excuse for your career not to take a huge jump in 2018. This is YOUR year. Attack it!