Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

Tough Times are a Litmus Test for Whether You’re in the Right Job


You don’t need me to tell you that the business climate is very uncertain, to say the least. So many industries are taking a hit, and everyone is asking you: “How’s your business?”

It’s likely that you’re busier than ever. If you have clients, they need hand-holding and persuading. If you’re at an organization, it is likely to be very lean at the moment; you may be doing the job of two or three people. The question on the table, that you may be too preoccupied to ask yourself, is: Have you considered your own career lately?

Now you may scoff at this question. After all, you may have logged many years in your position or industry, it may feel like your calling. And perhaps it is. If it is, you can stop reading here, no need to consider this further, you have more than enough on your plate. But if this question strikes a chord, or at least gives you pause, you may want to read on.

The truth is, it’s never a bad time to assess your career. If you’re forward-thinking you make it your business to do it periodically, just to make sure you’re on the right track. There are many ways to conduct a career assessment, and I’ll address that later. The point is: right now, in a down economy, do you have the time and inclination to work on yourself? That depends on how satisfied you feel in your career today. You may say: How can I feel satisfied in my career when the market is in such bad shape? There’s so much pressure right now, how can I really enjoy the work I’m doing?

What would you say if I told you that the right career is one that feels that way most of the time? It should not feel right when business is up and wrong when business is down. You should feel confident most of the time that you are engaged, growing and making a contribution, whatever that means to you. I’m not ignoring the fact that work may be frustrating right now, but that shouldn’t bring you down, day after day. If you start your days feeling challenged and regularly end with a sense of failure, something is definitely wrong. You may not be in one of the few industries that is currently growing. But putting aside that you might not be as financially successful this year as during the last few years, what does your career really mean to you? What aspects of the profession keep you charged up and ready to dig in each day? Do you have the interest, skills and talent to stay where you are or should you invest your energies elsewhere? If you are feeling frustrated and enervated in a tough market, you may want to explore some new career tracks. It’s never a bad time to investigate, you don’t have to make a move until you’re ready. Join me here next time as I provide some ideas on conducting your own career assessment. Meanwhile, I welcome your questions and comments.