There will be a point in our careers when we will need to stop and think about where we are, where we have been, why we are still here, and what lies ahead of us. It’s that point in time where you’re going to decide whether you need to reignite your drive to push yourself forward in your current career, or you need to make a change and find a new path.
So what do we do when we get to this point in our careers? One of my mentors in the past taught me to ask myself a set of questions that I should ask myself every 6 months or whenever I’m starting to ponder about my love for my career.
#1 Am I Continuously learning?
Learning isn’t confined in the four corners of a classroom. One way to know if your career is healthy is when you know that your are continuously learning. Are you gaining new skills? Are you encouraged to attend seminars? Are you finding ways to improve your work? Or are you learning new things at work, but feel dissatisfied and want to learn something that is more challenging? It’s important to know whether you are learning new things at your current career and if what you are learning is sufficient enough to make you a better professional.
#2 Am I growing?
In any career, not just in engineering, career growth is one of the most important aspects that should be checked every now and then. Is the path clear for you to be able to get to the next level at your company? Are you being trained for leadership roles? Do you see a different department where you could use your skills more? Take note of the path you are taking. We all have different ways to interpret growth. There are people who see growth as climbing up the career ladder and become a boss or manager in their company, while there are others who want to find growth elsewhere– such as a different department or a different company or field.
#3 Is respect present?
Never settle in a company that makes you feel degraded and unappreciated. Always choose to be in an organization where your opinion matters.
#4 Am I doing my best?
There will be occasions wherein we will lose our drive and passion in our work. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to find a new job ASAP. It may mean you just need a breather like a vacation. Maybe you need a fresh project to work on, whether it’s a project at your company, or a personal project at home.
#5 Am I happy?
There is no perfect job. Even your dream job will have it’s consequences and difficulties, as a matter of fact, ALL jobs have their difficulties. That’s why, it’s always better to choose a job that is close to your passions. It will definitely have difficulties along the way, but all your hard work will be worth it because you know you’re working for what you love.
It’s difficult to have a definite yes to all these questions, but if you have answered “no” to most of them, then it may be time to ponder if you need to take a new direction in your career.