The end of the work year is a great time for both reflection and celebration. So, before you get caught up in the silliness of the season, take stock of the year that’s been; what have you achieved, what have you learned, and, most importantly, what’s next for you?
Here are 9 end-of-year career questions to ask yourself before the start of the new year.
1. What career goals did I achieve?
You probably set some career targets for yourself late last year, but did you accomplish them?
These goals could have been anything - from improving your communication skills or closing more sales, to landing that promotion or changing jobs. Whatever the case, this question allows you to think about the time you spent on actually progressing in your career. Did you kick goals? Or did you just go through the motions with no real direction?
If you didn’t set any goals for yourself at the start of the year, don’t worry. Think about what you have achieved. Pulling together a list of what you’ve accomplished might be all the motivation you need to aim for more in 2020.
In any case, be grateful for what you were able to do. And, this year, be sure to put aside some time to set your career goals for the new year.
2. What else went well?
Whether you kicked-butt career-wise or floated through the year, be grateful for the little things that went well. What did you create, how did you grow, what are you proud of, what did you stand by that matters to you?
Gratitude is forcibly and consistently linked with happiness. And knowing what you’re thankful for or proud of will help you set more authentic goals for 2020.
It’s too easy to get caught up in missed opportunities and mistakes. So, take stock of the positives. And remember that there is nothing too small to be thankful for or to celebrate.
3. Was I happy doing my job?
Every day across Australia, thousands of employees walk into work hating what they do. Are you one of them?
If the answer to this question is yes, then it's time to figure out why you're unhappy. Is it because you don't feel engaged with your work, is your pay too low, do you have a bad boss, do you feel unappreciated? Bed down the reasoning so that you can work out how to change things in the coming year. That might include trialling ways to fall back in love with your job or looking to greener pastures.
If the answer to this question is no then hallelujah; you're onto something good. But it's essential to dig a little deeper. What is it about your current job that makes you happy? Once you know this, you can keep it in mind as you progress in your career.
Are you thinking about switching jobs or careers? Check out our top 10 resources for job (or change) seekers.
4. Where did I spend my time and energy?
Think about how you spent your precious time and energy. Did you spend the majority of it doing what matters most to you?
If not, what do you need to adjust in the new year to ensure you’re spending more time with or on the things you love?
5. What’s one thing that happened this year that I would change if I could?
Everyone makes mistakes; mistakes are part of life. But acknowledging these mistakes and thinking about how you would handle things differently is the key to personal and professional growth (and making sure that you don’t make the same mistake again!).
So ask yourself, was there something this year that you could have handled better? What did you do wrong? Recognise your faults and missed opportunities and work to improve in the coming year.
6. What skills do I need to strengthen?
Think about the skills you need to develop to take on more responsibility or land that dream position. Or, reflect on the skill that, if mastered, would have the greatest impact on your life or career trajectory.
If you have all the technical skills down pat, perhaps it’s time to focus on improving your soft skills like teamwork, communication or problem solving.
Whatever the case, remember that if you’re not outside your comfort zone, you’re not learning.
7. What needs to be left behind in 2019?
Life is constantly evolving and changing. And so should we.
So, whether it’s a bad habit or an outdated idea/perspective, think about what’s no longer working for you. What thoughts or ways of doing things are holding you back?
8. Who will I connect with (or work to strengthen my relationship with) in the new year?
Ben Stein once said that "personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows." And this couldn’t be more true.
There is a power in business relationships that extends beyond a handshake and exchange of business cards. Success and strong relationships go hand in hand. That is because people want to work or be around people they know and like.
So, take stock of who you want to meet or get to know better in 2020. And, next year, find authentic opportunities to connect with them, bring value and foster feelings of respect, commitment, and trust.
9. What’s next for me?
You’ve now asked yourself a number of career questions that should indicate:
Whether you’re happy with your job
What went well last year
What you’re grateful for
The skills you’ll need to get ahead
The habits and ideas you need to drop.
So, now it’s time to put your thoughts into practice. What do you want for yourself in 2020, both in your personal and professional life?
Write down five big goals for next year. Then, break these goals into multiple monthly or weekly ‘mini-goals’. The process of breaking your goals up into bite-sized, achievable milestones will make your big dreams feel less overwhelming.
Ready for a change in 2020?
If you've asked yourself these career questions and think it's time for a change, partner with a recruitment agency.
Trojan Recruitment Group is one of Australia’s leading providers of temporary, contract, and permanent staffing and recruitment services. Our consultants specialise by industry, can provide you with career advice and match you to relevant roles that match your goals for 2020. Find out more.
Have your answers to these career questions made you ready for change, but not ready to jump ship? Check out our top 10 helpful articles to improve yourself or how you work in 2020.