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Career health check: are you where you want to be?

The summer is a good time to sit back and take a good look at your professional life. Are you where you wanted to be at this stage in your career? If not, how can you get there? Could it be time to think about moving up to the next level, or even taking a step back? STAR Medical’s Lucy Randle offers some advice.

The modern attitude that we ‘work to live’ gives the impression that work shouldn’t be enjoyable, and many people are in jobs that do not allow them to fulfil their potential or are not in the area where they would like to be. There are various reasons for this: we fall into a routine, we get lazy, or we are so busy in our jobs that we don’t have time to consider whether we are happy or not.

Your job may have met all your needs five years ago, but is that still the case now? Remember, success without fulfilment is failure. If you disagree with more than a couple of these statements, you may be ready for a change:

• My job utilises most of my skills and experience.
• I feel valued at work.
• I am satisfied with the level of responsibility I have at work.
• I feel comfortable and happy working with most of my colleagues and manager(s).
• I do not have very much workrelated stress and my job doesn’t interfere with my family life.
• I do not feel bored or burned out at work very often.
• I am happy with my salary.
• I agree with company policies and am satisfied that what I do is legal and ethical.

Review your work time

Ask yourself which parts of your job you enjoy most and look at what proportion of your time you spend doing them. It might be worth making a list of the task, time spent on it and grading how much you enjoy it, for example: Administration, 6 hours a week, grade 4.

Presentations, 2 hours a week, grade 9.

Make sure that you consider everything you do at work and not just what’s on your job description – for example, if you have been spending a lot of time helping a new colleague or answering questions about your IT system, factor that in too. Similarly, you can include items that you don’t do but wish you did, for example, contributing to the design of marketing campaigns.

“Your job may have met all your needs five years ago,but is that still the case now? Remember, success without fulfilment is failure”

If you’re not already spending the majority of your time doing what you find most rewarding, think about what type of role would incorporate more of what you want. It might help to look at the career paths of the colleagues or friends you most envy and admire. Consider what it is about their career you find most interesting and the qualities that have made them successful in it.

Aim high

Think about where you want to be in one, three, five and ten years time. Don’t suppress your true ambitions because you’re scared they’re unrealistic. Admit to yourself what they are and then research the chances of succeeding in them. Be prepared to look into roles you hadn’t even known existed before!

As well as thinking about your time at work, consider your time outside of work – how much time are you willing to commit to your job, would you be happy to relocate, how much do you need to earn to live the way and do the things you wish to do?

If you know someone who is doing the job of your dreams, talk to them about how they went about it and try to get a ‘warts and all’ description of what it really involves. A good recruitment consultant is likely to be able to advise you on the pros and cons of the role you are interested in, as the chances are they will have helped someone into or out of it!

Consider internal opportunities

If you have concluded that you are not satisfied with your job, bear in mind the saying “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”Your current employer may have more to offer you, if you let them know what you want!

Talk to your manager about your ambitions and what you want to achieve.They may be able to help you to achieve your goals. Ask them about the possibility of promotion or secondment.

Sometimes people’s jobs incorporate many rewarding factors but in too small a quantity. If this is the case it may be worth taking a carefully compiled proposal to your manager explaining the benefits of reallocating your time (in favour of what you most enjoy). If it is advantageous to your manager and organisation, this may be possible. If there are new products in the pipeline or signs of expansion, there may be fresh opportunities on the horizon.

Seek Advice

Talking to friends and researching online may be enough to help you to come to a decision about your career but if it isn’t, further assistance is available.

A career coach will take a forward-thinking, goal-orientated approach to understanding your needs and creating a career action plan.They can address issues such as time management, advancing your profile at work, and confidence in the workplace.A good career coach will facilitate your decisions about which direction to go in and have a positive, re-energising effect on both your work and personal life.

It is important to take time out to review your career and where it is heading

Admit to your ambitions and find out how realistic they are

Find out if there are any opportunities with your current employer in the areas that interest you

Speak to friends and research possible roles / companies on the internet

Consider speaking to a career coach

Amongst other things, psychometric tools such as personality profiling analyse your characteristics and preferences at work, your strengths and weaknesses, communication and selling style. Sometimes our sense of dissatisfaction is somewhat amorphous: personality profiling can help you to improve your selfawareness, pinpointing what you enjoy and find most rewarding, thus giving you some direction about what to look for.

Be proactive

Of course, deciding what you are aiming for is only the beginning of the journey to attaining it!

Thorough research needs to be conducted into what experience and skills are required to do the job of your dreams. Look at the profiles of the type of company you would like to work for, find out what they want from their employees. If further qualifications are required you must be certain that you can put the time and money behind obtaining them. Think about what has contributed to the success you have already had and how you can develop and improve this to suit the demands of your desired career.

A conscientious review of your current job and aspirations will give you the courage of your convictions when seeking a change. Don’t be afraid to ask for the support of your manager, or a professional such as a career coach or recruitment consultant in moving towards your goals.

The STAR Medical team is ready and willing to receive your call and happy to offer guidance on any of the issues raised in this article. Up-to-the-minute vacancies can be found at www.starmedical.co.uk.
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