Periodically, many people look back over the year and ask,
“Have I accomplished what I’d hoped to?”
“Am I better off today than I was 12 months ago?”
“Am I doing work I’m passionate about?”
It’s possible that your answers to these questions reveal that you are in the wrong job. Maybe you are underemployed – working in a company or industry where your talents, skills, and contribution are under appreciated or not rewarded fully (are you earning less than you should?). Perhaps your career has stagnated because you haven’t stayed current on your skills or training? Or, maybe, you have simply become invisible to decision makers who could offer you great opportunity, if only they recognized your value.
You are likely in the wrong job if you can answer “yes” to most of these questions:
- Does my gut tell me I can do more with my career and my life?
- Do I feel unsatisfied at the end of most days?
- Am I underpaid for the value I bring to the work I do?
- If I were outside looking back at me, would I think I sold myself short?
- When designing my legacy (desired brand) do I envision myself doing something more meaningful?
Don’t be surprised to find you are underemployed or in the wrong job. In this US News & World Report Article, the author points out that 17.7 million Americans are underemployed (including those working part time but seek full time and those marginally employed).
If you truly feel you should be doing something else, then start the process to find the right job today:
- Create a game plan to position yourself correctly, network, and build relationships with key influencers and contacts, clarify and articulate your value proposition (what do you offer that’s valuable?), and find a more fulfilling job.
- Include a detailed timeline for your game plan: What steps in the game plan do you need to tackle first? Have you updated your resume, LinkedIn profile, and networking lists? When can you accomplish that? What additional resources do you need, and when can you secure them?
- Inventory your brand assets: What sets you apart from your competitors? What do you offer that is unique and compelling? Do you have specific training, talents, or skills that employers are looking for — have you been promoting those skills to the wrong companies?
- Do research: What companies interest you? (Are they hiring? Who do you know there who can make an introduction for you?) Could your skills and talents be used more effectively in a new industry? What do other industries pay someone with your experience and skills?
- Get clear on you. When you think of your career as a whole, what will you be most proud of? What work brought you the most joy, meaning, and financial reward? Do you need additional training, skills, or contacts to get to the next level in your career? Are you ready to be your own boss?
While it’s never fun to realize you’ve been working hard at something that is unfulfilling, the good news is you have time! Making a change towards work that is more personally meaningful and impactful can create career success beyond your wildest dreams.
If you need additional help answering these questions, consider these resources:
- Reputation 360: Creating power through personal branding
- Stand Apart From the Competition (DVD)
- Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition