Have you ever felt like you hit a fork in the road when it comes to your career? It’s very common, and how you respond can change the projection of where you end up professionally. But before deciding which way to go, you need to ask yourself these 11 questions.
- What’s most important to you when it comes to measuring career growth?
Figure out if status means the most to you, if it’s financial wealth, company benefits, or work-life balance. In some cases, you can have it all, but you need to prioritize this list as a starting point.
- What does career growth look like to you?
Does growth mean moving up the ladder to a more senior position, or are you aiming to grow your career in a passion project? Growth might also mean an increase financially or when it comes to higher education.
- What traits will help you grow your career?
Take an honest look at yourself and evaluate what you can bring to the table. This doesn’t mean skills you’ve picked up along the way. Instead, these are the innate things about you that help your career grow. This is the difference between being compassionate or loyal vs. being able to draw up an effective blueprint.
- What am I most passionate about?
You might love your job or career projection, but what is it you’re truly passionate about? Knowing this helps direct the impact you want to have on the world and how your next steps affect that.
- What is your ideal work environment?
Determine if you are the type of person who works better in a situation where you have the option to work from home, work in groups, work in an open office space, or not even work in an office at all.
- What does work-life balance look like to you?
Ask yourself if you want to work for a company that supports families, offers maternity/paternity leave, or gives you the type of role that allows you to be at home with your family for dinner. Of course, a flexible work schedule also fits into this balance.
- Where do you see yourself financially as your career grows?
Put yourself in a situation that allows you to reach your financial goals, and don’t apologize for that. Finances are a big part of choosing a career, depending on the season of life you’re in.
- What is your next step when it comes to your actual role?
Think through your 1, 3, and 5-year goals. What steps correspond with giving you the best opportunity to reach those goals?
- What resources can help you reach that next step?
Resources can mean actual people, events, or education. If there’s a particular conference that provides the type of education you’re looking for, invest in it. Look within your own organization, too, and see if professional development or mentorship programs are offered.
- What skills do you need to invest in?
Ask yourself if there are certain things you could learn more about that would make your job better or you more efficient at it. For example, if you’re an architect but aren’t really knowledgeable about the legalities in the geographic areas you work within, study up. It makes you a more complete package.
- What strengths do you currently have?
People are a better fit for specific jobs than others, and strengths (and weaknesses) do have something to do with this. Once you know your strengths, you’ll figure out what role or industry suits you best as you climb the career ladder.