The beginning of a new year is always a time for new resolutions, sometimes small ones liking walking the dog more often, and sometimes big ones like finding a soul mate. It's a time when we evaluate where we are in aspects of our lives and set some new goals for the coming year.
Monitor Your Career Health and Wellness
Because paid employment consumes about one-third of our waking hours, our level of satisfaction with it has tremendous influence on our overall life satisfaction and mental health. That fact encourages us to monitor our career health just as we monitor our health and wellness in other aspects.
My friend and esteemed professional colleague Dr. Jane Goodman, Oakland University professor emeritus of counseling (as well as former director of the Oakland University Adult Career Counseling Center and past president of the National Career Development Association) advocates an annual career checkup just as we have an annual dental checkup. She suggests that we stop the spin of our lives long enough to ask some of these questions:
- Am I really satisfied with the work I'm doing?
- Am I using my skills to their fullest extent?
- If I were to get more education or training, what could I be doing?
- Is it time for me to re-enter the workforce?
These are thought-provoking questions that require time and personal insight. They can be troubling questions because we are all more comfortable with the “known” than the “unknown.” Change is difficult to deal with; and transitions often require investment of time, energy, and money. So, it's easy to stay in our comfort zone even if we are dissatisfied with our current status.
For the brave who are willing to confront questions like these, there are some good sources of support. First, wonderful support can come from our concentric circles of relationships – immediate family, good friends, and even a current employer and co-workers. These individuals can share their perceptions of their answers to these questions to merge with yours, and they can support you through any action steps that may be triggered through this process.
A second powerful source of assistance is spending some hours with a professional career counselor. We are often willing to spend money for the annual dental checkup but not for the services of a professional who can help us gain insight into our career-related questions and concerns. Just as with the dentist, it is just as valuable to determine that there is no need for treatment as it is to determine that treatment is necessary. Kuder offers career coaching services to help you identify and set achievable personal career goals.
Top Career Planning Resources & Tools
A listing of certified professional career counselors can also be found on the National Career Development Association website. That same site offers suggestions about how to choose a counselor.
A third source of assistance is Kuder® Journey™, an online career planning system developed by leaders in the field of career choice and development. This system offers a wealth of assessment and information that can help you do a career checkup. (There is a one-time fee of $34.95 for lifetime access to the system.) Journey features an electronic portfolio that you can access and edit for as long as you wish.
Journey helps you answer questions like these:
- What are my interests at this point in time?
- Does the job that I have now sync up with those interests?
- What are my work-related skills?
- What is important to me in a job?
- What kinds of jobs would help me use my interests, skills, and values?
- If I want to change to another occupation, what kind of education or training do I need?
- Where can I find that education or training?
- If I want to change jobs, how do I prepare an effective resume, cover letter, or e-Portfolio?
- How can I find job openings?
- How do I prepare for a job interview?
It bears repeating: paid employment consumes about one-third of our waking hours, and our level of satisfaction with it has tremendous influence on our overall life satisfaction and mental health. So be sure to monitor your career health and wellness just as you monitor your health in other aspects.
- work-life balance