Now that we have assessed your current career/work state, we can move on to another fundamental aspect of your career discovery. You know where you stand now, you have an idea of what you would like to see in your next career move, now let’s reflect a little bit on how best to make that move.
Depending on the current stage of your career, whether beginner or advanced professional, consciously take the time to stand still and ask yourself some tough questions about your career. This is very necessary and important to the future you are building. Introspection and honest self-reflection is the place to start.
Self-reflection is like looking into a mirror and describing what you see. Honest reflection helps you to develop skills and review their effectiveness in taking you where you want to go, rather than just continuing to do things like you have always done them. It is about questioning in a positive way about, what you do, why you do it and then deciding whether there is a better, or more efficient, way of doing it in the future. It is also about deciding where you would like to take your career from this point onward or even make a career change, which may even be scary. Whatever the stage of your career, reflecting will help you to learn, grow and develop to the best of your abilities.
One example that illustrates the value of reflection is cooking a special meal. Often we repeat meals whose recipes have been absolutely delicious, however, what happens when a recipe was disastrous? Would you repeat it? Of course not. Probably you would either adjust the recipe or find a new and, hopefully, better one. The same applies to reflection in our careers. Looking at what is not working and what can be made better the next time is an indicator of success in the work we are doing and the career we would love to build.
1. What am I doing and is this really what I have always wanted to do? - Mostly address your passion, interests and values, could also include career beliefs.
2. What do I really want to do? - Whatever it is. Say it. There is no harm in acknowledging your true desires.
3. What am I really good at? – They are the one or two things that people always compliment you on at work. What is it? This sets you apart from the crowd.
4. What are you not so great at?– Good to know but this should not be our focus.
5. What skills do I have or need to learn?
6. What problems are there at work/home that may affect me? For example, responsibilities or distractions that may impact on study or work.
7. What have I achieved? What am I proud of?
8. What makes me happy? Are there things that I am unhappy with or disappointed about?
9. What could or should I do to move forward in my career?
Although self-reflection can seem difficult at first or even selfish and embarrassing, you will find that it becomes easier with practice and the end result will always be a happier and more efficient You.
Recommendations - Get a career journal to start writing down your journey. Look at creating a dream-job-storyboard or simple essays of career successes that you will achieve on a daily or monthly basis.
Submit your answers to your advisor for a review, but most importantly to give them an insight into your current career state.