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Denise Kirwan

Principal/Founder, TracksGlobal Business Consulting & Executive Coaching

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Career Health, Part 1: The Annual Check-Up

08/17/2014 10:04PM | 13773 views

We have all been told we need to get our annual doctor’s check-up, but have you ever considered conducting a career check-up – a holistic general assessment for the health management of your career? 

Your doctor takes your vitals, blood pressure, weight, and general blood work to assess how healthy you are. Similarly, we can assess how healthy our career is by evaluating some key indicators that will tell us if we are on the right path. These key vitals are: healthy relationships, job knowledge, self-management and individual development. 

It is important to evaluate not only how you view yourself and others, but how others view you. The health of your relationships can be evaluated by looking at the ones you have with your peers, direct reports internal and external customers and other stakeholders.  If you are self-employed, you will want to consider relationships with your clients or customers, vendors, your direct reports and hires, and other key stakeholders (e.g., bankers and other outside professionals).

“Driving your career without conducting a yearly 360-degree feedback process is like driving on a busy freeway without looking in your rear-view or side-view mirror – the consequences could be catastrophic,” says Jaime Jusidman, President of ExecuSurv and an expert in feedback survey development.

While the following is not intended to be an exhaustive self-evaluation, it is a start. Do a quick check in the following areas and consider your answers to these questions.

Healthy Relationships:

When assessing the health of your relationship skills, ask yourself: 

  • How well do I seek mutual understanding when communicating?
  • How open am I to receiving feedback from others, even when I might not like what I’m hearing?
  • Do I display empathy toward others’ situations?
  • Do I respond authentically to others?
  • Do I proactively address differences and resolve conflicts?
  • Do I offer my support to others when they need it?
  • Do I welcome new members to our team or organization?

Job Knowledge:

When assessing the health of your job knowledge, ask yourself:

  • Have I taken the time to stay abreast of the latest tools and methods to effectively carry out my role?
  • Have I continued to engage in learning about my organization and my industry?
  • Are my planning and organizational skills at the level required to perform my duties efficiently? Effectively?
  • How effectively am I demonstrating my ability to resolve problems so that they stay solved?
  • Do I bring creative solutions to my organization and team?

Self- Management:

When assessing the state of your self-management, ask yourself: 

  • Do I handle frustrations productively?
  • Do I keep an open mind when receiving feedback?
  • Do I bounce back (quickly) from set-backs?
  • Do I approach new situations with optimism? Curiosity? A positive outlook?
  • Amid distractions, am I able to maintain focus?
  • What are the ways in which I provide for balance in my life (between work, social, family, recreation, philanthropy, and other activity)? 

Individual Development:

When assessing your individual development, ask yourself: 

  • Do I take the time to step back and assess my development at least once a year (with or without the need for a conversation with my supervisor)?
  • Am I aware of my strengths and how I can build on them?
  • Do I set compelling goals for myself to learn and grow?
  • Do I consider ways to develop my skills outside of the work environment?

Once you have completed your annual “career check-up,” you can energize your career with a few simple changes and a few career “Vitamins” – which we’ll discuss in Part 2 of this article.

Silvia Van Dusen also contributed to this article. 

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