To Stay or Start Anew – Tips on How to Assess Your Career and Future

How to Assess Your Career and Future

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By: Roland Cerera

The New Year poses to open one more chapter in all of our lives as we look forward to another productive 365 days. You can contemplate on all the hard work and dull moments in your career and use every motivation to push you further in preparation for the year ahead.

The underlying question is, should you continue or should you look for a greener pasture? Here are some tips that may help you make that crucial decision in your career. On a more precise note, these are actually questions that you need to ponder upon aside from checking your Fung Sui and horoscope.

How Long have I been Here?

It would be preposterous to say that your job does not fit if you only got past your regularization. There are even others, as a common trend especially in the IT-BPM Industry where job hoppers are aplenty, who would tender their resignation at the slightest discomfort.

Conversely, there are those who stay through thick or thin but ultimately gives up at a certain point. In one company orientation where the newbies were to mandatorily give an introduction, a young lady shared that she has been with her previous employer for the past twelve years. The question to be asked of her was overwhelmingly obvious, “why did you resign?” Turns out she has received the same salary for the entirety of her tenure. The better question would have been, “why did it take you twelve years to realize this?”

We all have our reasons but the realization of the facts must immediately be acknowledged, else, valuable time is wasted. The ubiquitous question in a job interview – “what are your plans for the next five (or so) years?” Most people take this question for granted and safely answer with a googled reply. Thinking about your future actually starts with the interview. If you go barging right in without having a goal, you’d end up easily dissatisfied.

Were opportunities presented to you?

A casino employee immediately got employed after graduating from college, he has dealt cards for the past fifteen years. In his line of work, promotion is but a dim light in an endless tunnel. Unless you are in good terms with the supervisors and your supervisors are rubbing elbows with the managers, that dim light is as good as a lost firefly.

CEOs and Industry leaders agree that you should be promoted within the second year of your tenure or even sooner. This, according to them is the measure of one’s “ripeness.” If you have learned to adapt and shine, you need to take a step up the corporate ladder. This is because, one, you are being valued for your performance and two, they do not want you to leave.

Are your talents and skill maximized as they are nurtured? Is your company growing yet you are left behind your desk? As with your dream of becoming promoted, you also need to ask if your contributions to the company are exemplary enough to take you to the next step. If there are obstacles hampering your ability to excel, identify the root cause. If it is a workable issue, sort it out before you plan of vacating your post. If it is more than you and beyond your control, have your resume ready and check out the different job portals.

Am I Getting Along Well with the People at Work?

Even if you are in good terms with 90% of your colleagues, chances are, the 10% can still do considerable damage especially if they are your direct reports. Your company is a community composed of different people as such, different personalities. Gossips and backstabbers are common, politics is a given. Now the real question is, how are you keeping up with them? As much as you tolerate these people, how long can your patience hold?

You can act as a saint and give high fives upon meeting each and every person in your office but nevertheless, you know, some of them are not worth trusting. Good for you if you can cope up with them but always remember the value of time. Have you had enough? Or do you enjoy disregarding them and minding your own business?

Some would say, “if you quit, you lose and you simply gave them last laugh.” This is all but a matter of pride. Amidst all the stress, and remember, that these situations can be painfully stressful and draining, do you sacrifice living each day for your pride? You always have the choice to move on.

Is it a Matter of Finances?

Salary maybe on top of the list of reasons for leaving one’s job but there are those who loyally stay with the company notwithstanding their compensation. A family man worked as a customer service associate for a local bank, with his master’s degree and all, he receives a minimum pay. He’s been with the company for eight years and has no plans of looking for employment elsewhere. Contentment is actually key to tenure. He claims that he loves his work and the people around him – considering them as family. It so follows that if you love your job, you need not work a single day.

However, a person of his kind is quite rare in this world we live in where inflation and expenses are the only things constant. You may still consider taking your expertise somewhere else if the finances are no longer feasible. There is always a good chance that the same environment is available out there – with a better pay of course.

How is my Immediate Supervisor Treating me?

During the last time you had an intimate chat with your boss, how did it go? Were there more criticisms rather than discussing your future contributions? It is one thing to give comments that you can take constructively, it is another issue if they simply dislike you and question your works.

What kind of boss do you have? Do you think that you can spend two more years with the same management? Are other employees given more recognition despite doing routinary work? Your immediate supervisor measures what you do, whether you like it or not, only a certain percentage is quantifiable and the rest of the evaluation is subjective.

In a commonly circulated quote in social media – “Employees do not leave the company, they leave their bosses.” In the previous example of the family man, he stayed because he loves his boss with sincere respect. Knowing when enough is enough is crucial to your future. You need to also be mindful of learning from all your experiences.

Assess your career and future

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On a conservative average, an employee spends 55% of his time at work. Taking into account the travel time, sleep, and other activities away from home, we expend more of our wake time at work dealing with our colleagues and our jobs than spending time with our loved ones at home. We work to get paid, and this compensation is what we afford to survive. Therefore, in order to survive, one has to very mindful of his/her job.

Ask yourself if the life you spent at work is worth it. Make an assessment of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Making a list can actually help. Being comfortable in your workplace is relative to your productivity and state of mind. If there is one good thing about having numerous employment, it is the fact that you are like a knife sharpened not by just one grindstone.

Tenure nevertheless matters. This is a brilliant display of dedication and loyalty, attributes that are slowly becoming a rarity in the modern workforce. These are exactly the traits that some high profile companies are looking for. The decision is ultimately yours.