A job and career are not a compartmentalized chapter of a person’s life. A career is inextricably linked to life and is an integral part of it. Career issues that arise for people can easily be rooted in your personal life and your personal life may have career implications. You must be aware of the interplay between your job, career, and the non-work aspects of life.
The pandemic has opened a gaping wound in the workplace. Workers are realizing what’s most important to them. Most importantly, workers are acting on what they want.
As of this writing, an average of 3.9 million people per month quit their jobs in 2021—the highest average ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics since it began tracking the metric in 2000. This has happened mostly in the service industries, primarily retail, restaurants, and hotels. It’s being called The Great Resignation.
To me, what’s more important than the number of people who have quit their jobs, is how many are seriously rethinking their jobs. And I think that’s just about everyone. Even if you don’t work in a service industry, you’ve asked yourself these questions:
- Do I like my job?
- Do I want my job?
- What are my options?
This could be called The Great Re-Evaluation. And it’s a good thing. We tend to think we’re stuck where we are. That we must endure being unhappy and dissatisfied. That we have no options. This is false. We all have options. We just haven’t taken them seriously. We haven’t thought through them.
If you would take the time and energy to open your mind and take nothing off the table, you can rethink and re-evaluate where you are. And you can eliminate that worry of:
- Is there something better?
- What could be better?
- What should I do?
We all need certain things from a job. Appreciation, respect, and a sense of accomplishment. If you have those things, you’re probably feeling pretty good, as you should be. And if you’re being paid fairly and making enough money, that’s about as good as it gets.
If you don’t have these things, what can you do? Look at these factors:
- What you’re good at – you do it better than most people.
- What you value – what is your why?
- Earning potential – how many dollars?
- Work/life balance – how many hours?
Your job and career must provide at least 3 of these things. You may not know the answers to these questions right now. Then you must find the answers.
There are a variety of resources that can help you with what you are good at, or what job and profession suit you. Some of them are:
- 16pf Career Development Report – an assessment focused on personality traits
- Self-Directed Search – based on the Holland system; cost is $15
- Myers-Briggs – a well-known and widely used personality assessment; online version is $50
- iStart Strong – done by the Myers-Briggs people; focuses on careers
- O*NET OnLine – free tool for job analysis and career exploration
What your work means to you reflects your values and your purpose. This can seem abstract but start with why you work at all. List everything you can think of. Don’t filter it. Then group similar reasons together. Then rank them from most important to least important. This will give you a good idea of what you value.
Money is next. You must zero in on how much you need to earn a year. A range is fine. Both now and in the future. What lifestyle do you want? What do you want to spend money on today what does it cost for your optimum standard of living? How much do you need to save for the future?
How many hours a week do you want to work? There’s a big difference between 40 and 50. This will depend on how much free time you want.
Learning these things about yourself will tell you whether you’re a good fit for the job you have. If you are, great. If not, there’s work to do. Either way, you can now start to explore and figure out your options. You now have more knowledge about what works for you. And you also have more control over your job and career.