The fall is a time of transition: back to school, cooler weather, and for so many, the itch to explore something new professionally. In particular this year, COVID has forced a spotlight on what we love, and do not love, about our careers: the structure, the intellectual demands of the work, the way work gets done, all of it. It has also highlighted for some the (mis)alignment between professional and personal goals and reinforced the importance of doing work that is fulfilling and energizing.
All of that to say, if you’re feeling like you’re ready to shake things up and are starting to question what a change could look like for you, you’re not alone.
Regardless of if you’re actively interviewing or passively starting to explore what’s out there, I invite you to do an audit with yourself on how you’re feeling professionally. I got into the habit a couple of years ago of doing this annual intentional reflection outside of any 1:1 I had with a manager. I appreciated the accountability and brainstorming that was a byproduct of sharing these thoughts with my manager, but I found that checking in with and for myself about how I was feeling about my career outside of the day to day wins and frustrations got me somewhere a scheduled meeting did not.
If you’re feeling hesitant at the very idea of this, I get it, because that was also my experience. I was scared to see what I’d find: maybe this role isn’t for me, maybe I love what I’m doing just not where I’m doing it or maybe - gasp - I actually do like where I’m at and being content is okay.
But like I often ask myself and the people I work with, what’s the best that could happen by doing this audit? What’s the worst? That was enough to solidify the habit.
Here are some of my favorite self audit questions, in no particular order:
What about your job is energizing for you?
What about your job is draining for you?
What do you wake up excited to do? What do you dread?
If you could wave a magic wand, what would be different for you about your work?
What are your life goals? How do your professional goals support your life goals?
What do you want to optimize for right now in your career? What are you currently optimizing for?
Take a look at your responses - what do you notice? Are there any trends across your answers? What values are peeking out behind what you wrote down? What, perhaps, surprised you?
Like spring cleaning, an audit doesn’t necessarily mean that you get rid of everything and start completely fresh… but it might. Taking everything out of your closet Marie Kondo style is the first step. Deciding what to do is next. More on that to come!