Is Your Career On Track? Take Our Quiz!
It seems that every working person has three things to worry about, even in the best of times. You’ve got to do your job satisfactorily or better, in order to hit the goals you’ve been assigned (or set for yourself) and be successful in your organization. Leaving out hearth-and-home responsibilities, that’s probably your biggest professional priority – to do your job well.
Your second concern as a working person is to keep your eye on the road ahead of you. What’s happening in your company – where are they headed? Are the opportunities emerging in your organization promising for you, or do they spell D-E-A-D-E-N-D for your resume? Every working person has to look beyond the four walls of his or her cubicle or office into the future. Where can I go in this company, and what will I need to do to get there?
The last thing working people need to do is to stay current with the external hiring market. You need to know which employers suffer under the very same sort of Business Pain you specialize in solving. You need a network to buoy you up when you’re going through tough times and to help you slide into the next opportunity if the current job goes away or stops growing your flame.
You’ve got a lot to think about!
Here’s a quick quiz to help you gauge your progress in your career so far. Our quiz Is Your Career on Track? is suitable for all ages and folks in all professions. Try it, and leave a comment with your “Aha!s” afterward. Answer each question in our Is Your Career on Track? quiz with a Yes or No answer, and give yourself one point for each Yes answer.
- Are you at (or, in your own judgment, ahead of) the place where you planned to be or imagined you’d be professionally at the age you are now?
- Are you learning something new every day or every week on your job?
- Are you clear on a career direction that makes most sense for you (doing work you’d enjoy and are good at, at a market rate that will cover your expenses)?
- Do the people in your workplace get you – do they see your talent and appreciate it?
- Do you have a good idea of your manager’s plan for you over the next year or two? Add one point if you and your manager have discussed a specific development plan. Subtract one point if you and your manager have never discussed your development in your role.
- Do you have a positive professional reputation as a person who’s well-versed in his or her subject matter?
- Do you network with new and old professional friends and contacts at least once per month?
- Are you earning a wage or salary that is fair for the contribution you make on the job?
- Do you feel good about your relationship with your job?
- If you pulled out your resume right now and reviewed it, would you have at least one notable accomplishment to add to your resume since the last time you revised it?
- Does your job allow the time you need for your personal life, your health and your family and friends?
- Does your resume make clear how you’ve positively impacted the organizations you’ve worked for thus far?
- Do you have professional and personal goals for the next 12 months (or another planning horizon that you prefer)?
- Do you know your own strengths, and how to use them to help other people?
- Do you feel that you’re on the right path career-wise?HOW TO SCORE YOUR QUIZ RESULTS:
Add up your points (one point for each YES answer and extra points as applicable for Question 5).
12 or more points: Hats off to you! You know where you’re going and you’re moving down your path. Read over the quiz again to see where you can still strengthen your Career Altitude.
7-11 points: You’re ahead of the game, but obstacles remain in your way. Can you identify the biggest of those obstacles (no career plan? co-workers who don’t get your brand of jazz?) and make a plan for overcoming it?
4-6 points: Time to jump into action! You are awesome, but your career situation right now is not as awesome as you are. You’ve got the second half of 2014 to put things right!
Fewer than 4 points: Don’t despair! It’s good you’re reading this article. Everything happens for a reason!
Here are ten steps you can take by yourself right now to move your career forward:
- Draw a roadmap that starts today and extends ten years into the future. What will you draw on your roadmap, and when? Do you want to live abroad, go back to school or start your own business? Put those goals on your roadmap. When you’re done, show your roadmap to your best friend or your partner and get his or her insights. Your friends may know you better than you know yourself!
- No matter what your job is, get onto vistaprint or another office supply site (or walk into an office supply store) and order business cards. These are not your employer’s business cards; they’re yours. You are a consultant — we are all consultants! You don’t need a fancy name for your consulting business. You can put your own name on the cards. Just get them, and start giving them out! You can figure out what kind of consultant you are when somebody wants to hire you!
- Decide what you can get out of your current job that you’re not getting now. Is it executive contacts — something you won’t get without regular exposure and access to the folks at the top of your organization? Is it a promotion, the chance to work on a new piece of technology or an opportunity to lead a team? Decide what your employer offers you that you haven’t pursued yet, and make a plan to go get it.
- Make a list of your three favorite things about your job. Reading over the list, are you grateful and happy? If the three best things about your job are that your current boss isn’t as crazy as your last boss, you can wear jeans to work on Fridays and your paychecks don’t bounce like they did at your old job, that’s not a great list. The right job will inspire and stimulate you. Is your job inspiring and stimulating you now? If not, think about a reinvention and job search.
- Make a list of the three things you’d most like to change about your job. What’s the next step in fixing each of your “To Fix” items? Maybe in one case you need to talk to your boss about the issue. In another case you might need to redesign a process that doesn’t work and makes everybody mad. Take the bull by the horns and fix what’s broken on your job, so you can keep sailing forward!
- Get a journal and start writing in it, even if it’s only five minutes a day. You don’t think writing in a journal is manly? Get a journal with Chuck Norris’s face on it. Write about your job, your life or whatever you feel like writing. Get your thoughts on paper, and open the essential channel to your right brain!
- Make a date with a friend you DON’T work with, and get together just to talk. We all need let-it-out therapy, and our good-listener friends are worth their weight in gold.
- Write down your goals on the job for the rest of 2014. Now write down your manager’s goals. Don’t know them? Now is a great time to ask! The more you know about what makes your manager successful, the more successful you’ll be yourself.
- Stretch yourself at work. Take over a project or run a meeting for the first time. You won’t grow muscles unless you try new things. Step out there! It’s only new ground the first time.
- Lastly, remind yourself that you work hard and have a lot on your plate. You have to see your own value before anybody else will see it. You rock. Don’t forget that, even when your voice is the only one reminding you of your talents!