them from what you see.”
This chapter will discuss the importance of contemplating and understandingyour present work environment, circumstances, and experience. It’s important
Some of the questions I hear most often from clients and those I meet are,“When do I know that it’s time for me to change what I’m doing?” and
● Strengths: what are the best talents you possess, characteristics, virtues
● Weaknesses: areas you know you need to work on, personality traits,
● Opportunities: things you could be considering, new avenues or doors
to be opened
● Threats: what can stand in your way, become an obstacle, hold you back
As we work through each of the questions below, take the time to analyze
each one as to how they stack up in each of these four areas. You may come
across certain questions that can only be classified under one or two of these
headings; that’s okay. You’re looking for the big picture and a clear map of
where you need to be. To do that, your strengths and opportunities need to be
crystal clear. However, you also need to know what your weaknesses are, and
be wary of threats that could come at you from nowhere. I have given you a
very brief description of each of these, so you can better understand how to
apply them as we work through these exercises.
Analyzing Your Current Position
When answering each of these questions, consider all four areas, and be
brutally honest with yourself. If there’s something that rubs you the wrong
way or irks you about your current position, write it down.
When you think about your current profession, do you love what you do,
like what you do, or merely tolerate what you do?
What are your main reasons for feeling the way you do?
We’ll assume the middle of the road for the next few questions.
What do you like about your current profession?
Do you have your own parking space, or maybe the canteen makes great
food? Another great benefit may be a corner office with a magnificent view!
While these “perks” are nice to have, are they really adding value to your life,
and are they making you feel fulfilled as an individual? Are these unwritten
perks worth sticking around being constantly miserable?
If you’re at the point of merely tolerating your current position, or you’ve
even moved on to genuine disdain, what are the real reasons for you feeling
this way? What I’m trying to get at here is whether the things you’re really
unhappy about can be resolved, or whether you should be updating your CV.
Some reasons to be unhappy might be a two- to three-hour commute to and
from the office daily in rush-hour traffic that you cannot quite fathom where
the “rush” in rush hour comes from. Sitting bumper-to-bumper drives you
insane because you can feel the sands of time slipping from your grasp that
could be better spent doing something else!
Maybe you’re working in an open-plan office environment with some
colleagues from hell, or you have a supervisor that’s the epitome of a
micromanager. Other reasons could be that you’re employed by a narcissist
and everything is all about them! (And yes, it’s a real personality disorder that
negatively impacts a work environment). If you are currently unhappy in your
career, chances are your list is a long one and will mainly be negative.
Do you see yourself working in the same environment, and the same
position for the next three to five years?
This question should be a great indicator as to whether you should be settling
in, or planning your exit strategy. Do you physically see yourself in the same
position, in the same office, surrounded by the same people? Or are they
already physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting by the end of each
day? Are you currently living for Friday afternoons when you get to escape
the humdrum routine for some normality because your job is driving you
Does your current position provide you with opportunities for growth? Do
these make you feel excited about your future, or does it leave you feeling
Similar to the question above, do you see yourself going anywhere within the
current organization, or do you feel claustrophobic at the prospects of
possibly being stuck in a dead-end-rut? You may be in a position that has a
glass ceiling; is it one you’ve already reached?
Are you bored with your current role? Would opportunities working
alongside other portfolios or clients pique your interest more?
Have you pitched this to your manager in an attempt to grow into a new and
more challenging position? To answer this question, you need to be asking
yourself whether you stand up for yourself, asking for what you want out of
your position, or if you shrink into the background, too nervous, shy, or
scared to come up with strategies that could redefine your role in the
Do you have the kind of relationship with your direct superior that would
allow you to be open, honest, and direct enough with them to share your
ideas? You may be the individual within your organization that has the
perfect temperament to be spearheading a particular project or client that
others find challenging. At times we are too afraid to ask for what we want
and, as a result, we miss out on potentially golden opportunities.
Do I fear change and that’s why I’m holding onto my current position?
It’s easy to become complacent and comfortable when you’ve been in the
same position for a while. You get stuck in your comfort zone for a number of
● You know exactly what you’re doing
● You know what’s expected of you and you deliver
● You are comfortable in your own little space
● You know what deadlines are in place and you’re in a routine
● You’re afraid of what’s out there and whether you’ll be successful.
● As mentioned in the introduction, an exceptionally high number of
graduate professionals are not working in the field they graduated in!
This is one of the reasons for this. When you consider the age and
experience of young seniors making career decisions, how much do
they really know?
● Do they fully understand the industry they are planning on spending the
next 40+ years in?
● Have they considered the impact their decision will have on them for
the rest of their lives? Have they chosen to qualify in one particular
field for all the wrong reasons?
● Has your course of studies been influenced by somebody else, other
than yourself. What was discovered is that there was probably limited
understanding. Did you have any notion as to what the work entailed?
● Peer pressure is another reason for choosing to follow a specific career
path. You may have wanted to study with your friends.
● Incorrect information provided by guidance counselors, or thanks to
family traditions. Whatever the reasons for choosing this career, it was
● Even coming from a long line of doctors or lawyers, can you see how
assuming your name should be with John Hopkins, or Harvard doesn’t
make your reasoning correct.
● Maybe you are passionate about one of these professions because
you’ve been exposed to the industry through family bonds. That’s an
entirely different story, in which event you should be looking forward
to a thriving career that may see you performing breakthrough surgery
in a specialized field, or being appointed as a judge in your state
someday! Note that I used the magic word “passion.”
● You’ve possibly chosen your career because you heard they make a ton
of money! There are so many incorrect reasons for making the wrong
decision when it comes to your future. Of all of these, money as a
motivator is probably the greatest enemy to your success.
So here’s my BIGGEST problem with every single one of the above
scenarios, and it’s probably not what you’d imagine! For each of these
individuals who spent anywhere up to seven years qualifying, someone else
Whether it was in medicine or law or advanced Science, Technology,
Engineering, and Math (STEM) qualifications (many of these qualifications
are in short supply globally), a spot was taken in an institution that could
have trained and upskilled the RIGHT individual. This is not to say that those
who have qualified don’t make any valuable contributions to their vocations
before making the shift (because many of them do). What is sad is that there
are usually only limited spaces available at universities, colleges, and other
training institutions. It’s way more than just taking a slot in their attendance register. It’s ALL the other resources that are allocated to the qualification
Thank you for reading!
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