Do you enjoy your work? Then now is the time to think about how to move forward. Because when you are on top, you have the time to make the right choices. It's good to test your market value from time to time as you cannot plan your career to the letter. The course of your professional life is to some degree shaped by timing and coincidences.
A good way to do this is to take a moment every two years to consider your situation and look at your possibilities, so you're able to seize opportunities when they arise.
When you do that analysis, you need to find out what you're good at and what gives you energy work-wise, because those are the pointers that lead you to the good job.
It may be a good idea to make two lists of your tasks: those you are good at — and those you are less good at. Then think about whether the tasks on the two lists motivate you.
It's old-fashioned to say that what you're good at is the only direction you can go. Being typecast by both yourself and your manager can also feel like being in a hamster wheel, because you end up completing the same tasks again and again.
Next, you can sort your tasks into four categories: there are those you can't figure out or bother to solve. There are tasks you are good at, but which are boring. Then there are tasks that you are both good at and find exciting. And last but not least, there are tasks that you are currently struggling with, but that are challenging and exciting.
The list helps you identify what a good job looks like from your point of view. And then you can act on it. You can either use your performance review to get there in your current workplace — or start looking for the workplace and job that matches your aspirations.
When Alice in Wonderland asks the Chesire cat which way she should go, the answer is that it depends on where she wants to go.
Career Advisor, IDA
In Honduras, there is a solidly constructed bridge that lives up to all the rules of engineering. However, during the El Nino storm, the river below the bridge moved - and now the bridge crosses a dried-out river bed. Just like the bridge, you stand a risk of no longer fulfilling your purpose if the river beneath you shifts.
You may also feel that you have your solid foundations in your competences, but you may therefore risk that your competences are not the solid foundations of tomorrow. Then you can try to move the bridge - or to move to another company where you can do your current tasks - or develop your skills for the new reality.
Even if you're happy in your job, it's good to think about what the job will look like in two years' time. Many people think that a classic career is about moving up, getting more responsibility and maybe getting a management position. But it doesn't have to be that way.
You can also move horizontally and get ahead by getting professional challenges and exciting tasks. Others plan careers to get out and gain more autonomy and independence, while still others think about getting job security. Security from redundancy rounds or security in a permanent job rather than more unstable forms of employment.
Finally, there are those who want to develop their careers to find a balance between work, family and leisure.
It's a huge challenge that the stage in life where many people think about a career for the first time is also where they start a family and buy a house in the suburbs. Where young parents want to stay at home with their children, but also know that it is bad for their careers.
Many people experience pressure from all kinds of sources: themselves, employers, colleagues, partners, children, day-care centres and friends.
Here, you may need to find a job that can be combined with everything else you want in life. For others, balance is about the meaning and value of the job — choosing a job not because of what they are trained to do or what it pays, but because they can be proud of their workplace.
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