Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

Tough Times Are a Litmus Test for Whether You’re in the Right Career


You don’t need me to tell you that the business climate is very uncertain, to say the least.

However, if you still have a job, it’s likely that you’re busier than ever. After all, there are plenty of clients needing hand-holding and persuading, plenty of bosses needing you to do a lot of stuff you weren’t hired to do. The question on the table, that you may be too preoccupied to ask yourself, is: Have you considered your career lately?

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 it may be frustrating right now, but that shouldn’t bring you down, day after day. If you start out feeling challenged and regularly end with a sense of failure, something is definitely wrong.

So 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 your profession keep you charged up and ready to dig in each day?

I’ve been interviewing search consultants about what they’re doing to market themselves while business is poor. Those who have managed their businesses well in both up and down times seem to actually be enjoying the lull, and are making the most of their time by calling on more clients and prospects just to check in. 

Some are planning to add services they think are more in keeping with lean times. Others are hosting breakfasts and seminars to network and share information.

Down time is marketing time, the thing many people let fall by the wayside when work is crazy.

But if that doesn’t feel right, then it may be assessment time–assessing whether you’re on the right track or if you need to find something else that will prove more satisfying.

Join me here next time as I provide some ideas on conducting your own career assessment. Meanwhile, I welcome your questions and comments as always.