Figuring out what you want to do with your life is stressful at the best of times, and many people well into their 30s and beyond are still not sure if they are on the right career path. When people give advice, many encourage you to find a deeper purpose, or to do what you love, but how do you find a balance between doing what you love and paying the bills? To help you assess your current situation, and figure out if the grass truly is greener on the other side, we have put together some questions for you to consider:
Are you making the most of your natural talents?
There is nothing more satisfying that being the best you can be, and making the most of your natural talents to contribute to a greater cause. Ask yourself if you are truly doing what you are good at - being good at what you do helps drive success, and success and achievement contributes to job satisfaction and fulfillment.
Are you happy to get up and go to work every morning?
Many people look at this question and think how could someone be ‘happy' to get up and go to work every morning? Let's be honest, you are not going to be as happy to go to work as you would be getting on a plane and going to your favourite holiday destination. However, to go on that holiday or buy that house, unfortunately most people have to work. You spend so much time at work, and you need to be able to derive some happiness from your job. If you find that every night you are dreading going to work the next day, it is probably a sign you are on the wrong career path.
Does the good outweigh the bad?
Make a list of all the things you like about your job, and all the things that you dislike. Make sure you think about each task that you perform, and how much enjoyment you get out of each. Tabulate the results, so you can make a clear assessment of the good and the bad – you may be surprised at the results. You might actually like more about your job than you realise.
Do you get so involved you lose track of time?
Does the workday fly and you have no idea where all the time went? One minute you look at your watch and it is 10am and the next minute it is already 5pm? This is a good sign, because it means that you are so involved in your work you lose track of time. This could be because you are extremely busy, however generally speaking it is because you are engaged in your work, which is a great way to be.
Do you go the extra mile?
If the answer to this question is no, it generally means that you are not passionate about your work and it may be time for a new path. When you enjoy your work, you are never bored, and are always looking for new ideas and how to do things better.
Do you feel connected with your workplace, colleagues and career?
A large part of feeling satisfied at work is your connection to your workplace and your colleagues. Feeling a part of something bigger, and making meaningful connections at work is often a large part of what makes work a happy place. Assess whether you fit into your organisation's culture and whether your company culture and values align with your own. Also look at whether you get along well with your colleagues, as working with good, like-minded people is a key determinant of how happy you are.
Remember – no one job will be perfect
It is very rare that you find a job that is perfect in every way – so sometimes you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad. You should however strive for as much good as you can, this may mean changing where you work, or perhaps a complete career overhaul.
If you want a change, what's next?
Consider your natural talents, what you enjoy, what motivates you, and what kind of culture you want to work in. See if you can isolate tasks you enjoy, and think about what kind of role would encompass these. Once you know what kind of career you want, you can begin to put the wheels into motion that will set you on the right path.