For those of us who have been at the same job for over five years, we know how fast it can go by. Day by day there is always something that keeps us occupied and for the most part we are satisfied when payday comes. But if you take the time to look back at where you were five years ago and compare that to where you are today, are you still satisfied?
- Did your job description, title or pay change in the direction you would have liked?
- Did a co-worker get the promotion that you wished you got?
- Over all of that time was there something you could have done to change the outcome?
Don’t let to much time go by before you take a honest look at what you have accomplished and decide if it was enough. If it wasn’t what you had hoped than maybe you need a plan. I had started with a simple plan going into college but after a few years of being out in the work force the extent of my plan went to payday. As my jobs became stagnant I would find a new one hoping that something would get better. Eventually I realized that it wasn’t always the job but me. I focused on finding some balance in my life and using goal setting to give some meaning to my day. At the end of this article I will give you a a list of books and resources that used to help figure out what needed to change.
Let me give a sequence of events that I was able to recognize and deal with because I understood what I should be doing.
- After three years at my current job I had become the senior designer in the office and received a great deal responsibility.
- I had completed a $1.7 mil project on my own and was looking forward to the next one.
- Reality: Do to turn over I was the only person available to do the project.
- Then instead of getting the next new project, I got two new co-workers. Both of them younger and with better degrees than mine. As the work load slowed, over 10 – 12 months, I became more of a draftsman on their jobs.
- I grew frustrated and at times felt useless. I craved something more inspiring and challenging. With the old me that would have meant a job change.
- Unexpectedly, a friend working at the local Community College called and asked if I was interested in teaching a CAD night class.
- Opportunity: I was terrible at public speaking, but from a self improvement aspect, knew that I needed to work on it as a career tool. This was also an opportunity to fill a void created in my job.
- Results: What started as a personal challenge, outside of my day job, became my biggest asset in my job. Teaching the CAD class required that I refine my twenty years of CAD experience and drop the bad habits . That refinement began to show up in my productivity at work. With students coming to me for guidance, I soon realize that I had a valuable skill, one that I lost sight of.
- Along the way I began to appreciate my knowledge of construction detailing and gained confidence what I had to offer.
- I had to be honest with myself. Many years ago I had decided not to become licensed. As far as this job was concerned I had to work with my strong points and stay focused.
- Since, I have taken on projects like being a site supervisor in our construction management division. I saw this as a great experience all around. Though is was to benefit the company this time again, I was able to find ways that it fit my plan and keep it in prospective.
- Five years later
- I am still the senior production person.
- I am viewed as the cad expert.
- They others come to me for working out construction details.
- My role is well defined (by me) and works in harmony with the rest of the office.
Had I not taken the night class position would I have the same outcome? I doubt it.
In any job you need to be in tune with your companies mission. But if you don’t keep your personal career goals in tune with your employer’s you will have to accept what they give you and be sure that it will benefit them.
When you have no plan, someone will make one for you. A good employer will appreciate the fact that you are well defined as an individual and are willing to find the harmony in the relationship.
My point here:
- Take the time to do a self-assessment. Don’t wait for your employer’s performance review.
- Be honest with yourself. Apply that tough love on yourself.
- Build on your strengths. What are they? Where does your passion lay? Write your ideal job description.
- Take responsibility! You agreed to do a job, eight hours a day for a set pay. Maintain your word with your employer and re-affirm your self respect.
- Make the effort to blend your goals with your employer’s. If it isn’t working then maybe you have the basis for changing jobs.
- Decide to take control of where you will be in five years.
- Set challenging goals for yourself that make you smile to think about.
- Don’t get over whelmed and keep moving. Create small daily or weekly task that will get you closer to your goal. I started by reading a book with a purpose.
- Having a plan and working it build confidence. it wont take long for others to see it once you have it.
- Challenges are dealt with so much easier when you have a plan.
- If you don’t create your environment something else will. Making a choice not to do something is still a choice that you need to be responsible for.
I was trained in college to create plans to build commercial buildings and contracts between owners and builders. At some point I felt silly not having a plan for my life, let alone my career.
Why do you get out of bed in the morning?