I’ve been pre-occupied with preparing for the backpacking season. I just bought a Delorme PN-40 GPS unit, and I’ve enjoyed playing around with it and learning how it works. A quality GPS device gets good reception and accurately tells you where you are located. When you look at your career, how do you determine if you are on track?
#1. You first need to know where you are going.
Utilizing a GPS means that you know where you want to go. Even if you don’t know the exact destination, having a good feel for where you want to be in one, two or ten years is a good idea.
If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time.
#2. Look at your pay.
If you have stayed in the same field, you should be getting better at what you do. In other words, over a period of several years, your pay should increase. If this is not the case than you either are not improving in what you do, or you are at the wrong company.
Having great pay doesn’t mean you have a great job. But you can also say that pay does matter. If you aren’t sure how your company handles raises or bonuses, ask them about it.
But with this said, does your job cost you more than what you are paid? Calculate how much you get paid with how much you work. If your paycheck “represents” that you get paid $25/hour (like when you are on salary), but you work 50 hours/week, you actually make $20/hour. This can be a big deal because those 10 hours extra you work per week is taken from your family or recreation time, and you are technically not paid for that time. Over a one month period, you have donated 40 hours to your job! I am currently of the mindset that if you can’t fit your work duties within a 40 hour week, you are either working inefficiently, or you are too busy (or a combination of both).
#3. As far as career goes, what are your priorities?
Would you rather make less, but have more freedom? Or would you rather make more and have less freedom?
How would you define a dream job?
How would you define a dream company that you work for? What benefits would you like to see?
Would you want to run your own business full time?
Ask yourself questions that make you think. Write down goals. Keep an eye on your attitude at work. Don’t just sit there and wonder why things are not different.
I asked a lot of questions in this post that you may not be able to answer. But giving a lot of time to answering these questions could make most of your dreams come true over a ten year period. I also found it useful to make a mental note of things that I do and do not enjoy doing, for future reference. As time goes on, you should be able to create a more accurate picture in where you want to be in the future.
Are you where you want to be right now?