How do you know if you are in the right career?

By Hannah Kingston

Monday October 5, 2020

young-professional-woman

How do you know if you’re in the right career? More often than not, you’ll feel it in your gut. You will either feel excited and satisfied by the work you are doing, or dread will begin setting in on a Sunday evening as you envision the week ahead.

If you are feeling on the fence about whether or not you’re in the right career, there are 10 questions that you need to ask yourself, because life is too short to stay on a path that doesn’t make you happy.

10 questions to ask yourself about your career:

  1. How do you feel on your way to work, at ease or stressed?
  2. Does the day go quickly or drag by?
  3. Do you like and respect your boss?
  4. Do you have colleagues that you look forward to seeing each working day?
  5. Do you feel that you are building upon your skillset?
  6. Do you feel proud of your output?
  7. Are you learning while simultaneously contributing?
  8. Are you being paid what you feel is fair for your responsibilities?
  9. Does your job title reflect your role?
  10. Do you see a genuine future in your current position?

While these questions may seem trivial or obvious, answering them honestly, like really honestly will help to guide you if you are feeling unsure about whether or not you are in the right career.

How do you feel on your way to work, at ease or stressed?

How you feel on a Sunday night and on the way to work is always going to be illuminating. There are periods when work is stressful and it’s not your favourite place to be, but if the bad days have been outweighing the good days for months and it’s no longer circumstantial, it’s time to start looking inward and thinking about how the job is actually making you feel on the whole.

Does the day go quickly or drag by?

If you are enjoying your work, you will hit the ground running in the morning, and not spend the day counting down the minutes until you get to clock off. If the day feels like a total drag, only punctuated by negative exchanges and hiccups throughout the day, you could be entering into a toxic atmosphere.

Do you like and respect your boss?

Your relationship with your boss isn’t the bee all and end-all, but it does matter. If you have a good rapport with your boss, feel respected and get enough constructive feedback on a weekly basis, you could be on the right career path, if the opposite is true, an opposite statement could apply here.

Do you have colleagues that you look forward to seeing each working day?

Having work friends or at least people you can have a friendly chat with at work is vital. It’s hard to envision a positive day if it consists of hammering away at your desk and then going home without speaking to anyone. Social experiences at work help to build on your emotional intelligence, as it helps to give you something to look forward to at work.

Do you feel that you are building upon your skillset?

In modern society, staying in one place for your entire professional career is no longer commonplace. This means that continuously building on your resume matters more than it used to. You need to identify whether the current experiences are contributing to your professional development, as well as how the work you are doing now will apply to the work you will be doing in the future.

Do you feel proud of your output?

Feeling pride for what you bring to the table has a huge influence on how satisfied you feel at work. If you are smashing your goals, identifying new ways of doing things and are genuinely proud of your contributions, this could be a great indicator that you are in the right career.

Are you learning while simultaneously contributing?

There is no ceiling on what we can learn in a lifetime. if you feel pigeonholed or that you have hit the glass ceiling, and your work is no longer interesting to you, it may be time to review your career path.

On the other hand, if you find that you are continuously learning while contributing your skillset and experience, you could be in the right place. At the end of the day, it depends on what you are learning and how that aligns with your goals.

Are you being paid what you feel is fair for your responsibilities?

Money isn’t everything, but it does make a difference at the end of the day. Job satisfaction can be rooted in feeling that your output matches what is being inputted to your bank account. In 2019, it was found that the leading cause of job dissatisfaction for Australians was related to pay (41%), followed by job security (37%) and uninteresting work (33%).

If you have been noticing that the pressure in your workplace has increased but your paycheck has not, it may be time to have a conversation with your manager, before deciding that it’s not the right career for you.

Does your job title reflect your role?

If your job title reflects your role as it should, and you are proud of that title, that indicates that you are on the right career path, however, just because the title matches your responsibilities doesn’t always mean it’s the perfect fit. You’ll need to check in on how it makes you feel on the weekly.

Do you see a genuine future in your current position?

If you see a genuine future within your organisation and your gut tells you that you’re on the right track, you probably are! If you feel so-so about that future, there is no harm in seeing what else is out there, going to see a career guidance consultant or speaking with your manager about your future within the organisation. If you can’t see past Wednesday, the career path you’re currently taking may need a detour.

Keep reading: 10 signs it’s time for a career change

Keep reading: What are soft skills and why should you develop yours?

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