Jan 032012

Taking Stock

Taking Stock

Every year around this time, I take a few minutes to reflect on how the business is doing, on my goals and development plans, and on what I want to accomplish in the coming year.  Although most of that work is focused on how to move the business forward, I also make sure to take stock of my own career trajectory.  I always ask myself three questions when I do this:

  1. Am I having fun at work?
  2. Am I learning and growing as a professional?
  3. Is my work financially rewarding enough, either in the short term or in the long term?

Of course, I always shoot for 3 YES responses.  Then I know my career is on track.  But as long as I get 2 YESses, then I feel like I’m in good shape, and I know which one to work on in the coming year.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had a situation in the dozen years of running Return Path where I’ve had 0 or 1 YESses.  If I did, I’d probably spend more time thinking about whether I was still in the right job for me.

I think these three questions can work for anyone, not just a CEO.  Hopefully everyone takes the time to take stock like this at least once a year.  It’s healthy for everyone’s career development.

  • JCP

    I agree with you on this issue. You have to take stock of your professional career at least once a year. Your three questions are perfect. But, what if your three answers are NO? Of course, you have to change your career… But sometimes it's impossible. You have a mortgage, sons… You look for another job, another way to develope your career but when you do it you only hear the crisis word… Finding a new job is very tough…. Sometimes you'll earn less money than in your current job and you have to pay a lot of bills… You are tied to the job while you had a mortgage to pay…. It's so frustrating….
    The question is very simple: what can you do in these cases? I haven't found the correct answer yet….

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