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Assessing Your Career

In this job market, it is necessary to always plan ahead. You need to plan fallbacks, alternatives; things that will get you through the worst and best case scenarios. People always say ‘live in the moment,’ which I agree with, but equally important is to think for the future. That’s why every year or so you need to ask yourself one very important question: if things keep going the way they are, where do I see myself in five years?

Nobody wants to work at a dead end job. Imagine having to rationalize that to yourself. It’s like saying ‘I give up.’ But those synonyms can’t be in your vocabulary. That is why you need to seriously breakdown your life with a special focus on your current job and see where you’ll be if you keep going down the road you’re on. It’s the ‘you’ that’s living in the moment dissecting yourself from the future, if you want to think about it that way.

If you are happy where you are, then I am ecstatic for you and your success. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy forever. Obviously you can’t see where you’ll end up in five years after a week of work, but after a year or two you should be able to see patterns of how the company treats its employees. Take note of promotions and who is getting what after how long. Ask around and see how long your coworkers have been working to get to where they are. New employees added to the team don’t prove that the company promotes people quickly. In fact, it could mean that there is a high turnover rate. A sign of this is if there are a handful of people working the same job as you who are approaching the 10-year mark among a group of fresh faces. This means that people are getting out as soon as they get the work experience they need. This is a red flag, and you should consider looking for new work soon because you are on a one-way street that began with a dead-end sign.

You don’t want to be at the same desk you’re at now in 10 years, much less five. Really evaluate your surroundings and get involved with the people who have worked there longer than you have. By taking note of their lives you can paint a picture of what your career prospects may look like in a few years. If you like what you see then stay on course and put in the work. But if you sense that the company you work for is going nowhere fast then it’s time for you to jump ship and swim for shore. Five years may not seem like much, but you don’t have enough of them to waste any. Taking some time out of your life to ask yourself the hard questions can keep you from wasting a lot of time further down the road.

Are you trying to assess your future career? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by bennylin0724

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Bane is a Purdue graduate and has been through a lot of the trials and tribulations every job seeker goes through. He is looking to spread his knowledge so that other job seekers don't make the same mistakes. Learning by doing is fine, but knowledge is king.

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