The State of the Union, of course, is a President’s opportunity to give the American people a report on the state of our union. In today’s turbulent world of work, giving yourself a report on the State of Your Career is also essential to your well being.
How do you conduct such an evaluation and what should you focus on?
As I detail in The Career Fitness Workbook, the State of Your Career should be an assessment and not an appraisal. Unlike your boss’s annual critique of your performance, this evaluation is conducted by you and focuses on the progress you’re making toward goals that are important to you. It’s not a judgment about what you did well or poorly, but rather, a review of where you are in relation to where you want to be.
In this evaluation, you will assess whether you took the actions which you identified as necessary in the near term to improve your contribution in your current job and in the midterm to prepare for the next job you want to have. Those twin perspectives acknowledge two realities in today’s workplace:
• First, thanks to intense global competition, employers are eliminating any job or employee that isn’t making a day-in, day-out contribution to its success.
• And second, thanks to the acceleration of technological advances and other factors, the life expectancy of any job is now down to just three or four years.
Career security, therefore, depends on your making continuous progress toward the right goals for you, and your performance review (not appraisal) is a way to keep yourself moving forward and in the right direction.
The health of your career, however, should be evaluated more frequently than the ship of state. With workplace changes now coming at an unprecedented pace, you must identify any necessary remediation or mid-course corrections and institute those steps on a quarterly basis.
Yes, that’s hard to accomplish given the pressures of our day-to-day work, but as I noted in my last post, taking care of yourself (and your career) is every bit as important as doing good work for your employer. Both are essential to sustained success.
Thanks for reading,