10 Questions to Assess if Your Career is on the Right Track

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Every now and then it’s a good idea to sit back and take stock of your career to analyze if you are where you want and need to be. If you're unsatisfied in your current role, it may be time to make a change or move on.

Here Bayt.com offers a few tips to help you with this self-assessment.

1. Are you regularly learning?

A surefire way to halt your career progression dead in its tracks is to assume you are already an expert, know everything there is to know and there is no need to learn more. 29% of professionals indicated the biggest mistake people can make while climbing the career ladder was “not improving and updating existing skills” continuously as per the Bayt.com Career Advancement in MENA poll. Moreover, in the same poll 77.9% of professionals indicated they read constantly and 69.6% of professionals indicated they believe reading is vital to career progress.

Make sure you are positioned on a positive learning gradient in your career and that your skills and knowledge portfolio is being challenged and augmented all the time.

2. Are you making a difference?

If you feel the work you do is redundant and meaningless or that your own impact in the grand scheme of things is very insignificant, the likelihood is you are de-motivated and your career is not on the right track. Have a word with your direct manager and try to get some visibility vis-à-vis your role and how it fits in the organisation’s overall mission and strategy.

Unless you can get a firm grip on how you are positively contributing to the latter and feel a sense of satisfaction in your achievements you are probably setting yourself up for a less than stellar career path at best.

3. Are you a leader in what you do?

Leadership is not the domain of managers alone; everyone can be and owes it to themselves to aim to be a leader in what they do. Whether you stack files for a living, service high net worth clients or program computers destined for outer space, you should be aiming to acquire the very best skills it is possible to possess in your domain and to be widely recognized as such. 

Nothing satisfies, inspires, opens professional doors and breeds success like the well-earned reputation of being truly excellent at what you do.

4. Have you been promoted lately?

When was the last time you were promoted or praised or privately and publicly recognized for a job well done? If your accolades have been very few and far between and you feel you have been regularly overlooked for raises and promotions, chances are you are doing something wrong or are not in the right industry, company, role or division. Some soul searching may be in order to assess your relationships with peers, managers and clients as well as your skills inventories, motivation levels and work attitude.

5. Do you see career growth ahead?

What is the outlook for your career for the next 6 months, 12 months, and even 5 years and 10 years ahead? Do you see yourself happily ensconced in present role in the foreseeable future but with substantially more skills, compensation and reputational currency under your belt? Do you see further growth ahead?  Will you be making a bigger impact and contribution and rewarded as such?

If you have no visibility for the road ahead but feel confident growth is not in the picture, it’s time to change direction and veer back onto the track of career advancement.

6. Is your industry healthy and growing?

You may be doing a superlative job in a role, company or industry that is shrinking or disappearing.  If you cannot innovate yourself out of impending oblivion through your creativity and skill, you may want to start planning your professional contingency plan well ahead. Most certainly, you will find you have multiple transferable skills which lend themselves to other healthier roles in well-performing companies within growth industries.

7. Are you satisfied with your compensation?

Free salary benchmarking tools such as Bayt.com Salaries allow you to instantly assess your own pay vis-à-vis your peers in your industry and country of residence.  While pay is not the only reason professionals accept a job offer, unfair or highly uncompetitive pay practices are often cited as a main reason professionals eventually leave their job.

Remember to look at overall compensation; what you may feel is lacking on the cash component of the salary may well be compensated for in bonuses and benefits. Don’t overlook key investments the company may be making in you in the form of ongoing training, coaching and skills development.

8. Is your work-life balance where you need it to be?

Work life balance is a moving target and the optimal point on the spectrum is completely subjective and dependent on your particular circumstances, preferences, priorities and stage in life. As per Bayt.com’s Work-Life Balance in MENA poll 43.3% of professionals feel they do not have good work-life balance.

If you feel your work-life balance is not in sync with your needs, goals or values, start creatively finding ways to achieve the balance you crave.

9. Is that Monday morning feeling acceptable?

Constant stress is detrimental to productivity as well as mental and physical health and will eventually manifest itself in many unpleasant ways.  If that Monday morning feeling is severe stress and trepidation over a long period of time you may well be in the wrong role, team, company, industry or career. In Bayt.com’s Employee Motivation Survey – January 2013 an overwhelming 82% of professionals expressed they feel varying levels of stress on an average working day.

This could be partly attributed to being overworked, as 23% of polled professionals claim they always take work home/ work overtime and according to 44% of professionals, working overtime is considered to be part of the job requirement. Various other factors can also contribute to stress on the job as studied in Bayt.com’s infographic on Work-Life Balance in MENA.

10. Do you LOVE what you do?

Nobody said work would be a bed of roses with no thorns, but very many of us genuinely love what we do and the positive impact we are making in others’ lives, and our own. If you feel no affinity at all to your present career chances are your values are not being respected. 

It doesn’t hurt to do some deep and serious soul searching, take stock of your values and motivations and visualize what you would actually do differently to feel positive, invigorated, fulfilled and inspired.

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