So you've landed a job, and that's great. They're hard to come by. But how does it make you feel? Are you stressing about deadlines? Do you see a way to move up? Do you have an end goal in mind? All of these are important questions to ask yourself when considering if you're on the right career path. Here's what you need to know about the difference between a job and a career. Ask yourself these questions.
Am I challenged?
In any career, you'll want to make sure that you're using your noggin. If you've studied hard in school and have a lot of outside experience, it's imperative that you capitalize on this and put that knowledge to the test in your day-to-day tasks. Ultimately, if your job is too easy, you'll get lazy, slack off, and get distracted. This doesn't make for a good long-term situation. Make sure you are challenged on a daily basis to stimulate your brain.
Am I using my skills?
We try to find jobs that we've prepared for either in our studies or experience. But if you find a job that is totally outside of your expertise, you might want to consider focusing more on your skill set. It depends if you want to deepen the skills you already have, or have a broad knowledge of a wide set of skills.
Am I learning new skills?
If you're just doing what you know how to do, things can get boring and repetitive. In order to advance your career, you'll need to learn new skills and put them into practice. Your ultimate goal should be to bolster your resume so that you can obtain your full potential and be the ideal candidate.
Am I stressed?
A certain amount of stress is good, but too much stress can be a hindrance on your performance. Stress is also bad for your health, increasing your risk of a whole host of illnesses. Not fun. Make sure you have come up with a system to organize your assignments and manage your stress.
Am I spending hours of my life commuting?
Location, location, location. There's a reason it's important. Studies show that the more we have to commute, the more stress we build up. If you have to spend hours in traffic everyday, you may want to consider another job.
Am I getting along with my coworkers?
Your coworkers are like your family. It's essential that you have a professional relationship with them. Otherwise, this adds increased stress on your life. Make sure you're around positive, intelligent, and motivated people to inspire you to work your hardest.
Am I bringing home the bread?
Next to location, money is also important. It's one thing to sacrifice a higher paycheck for a job you're truly passionate about, but consider your expenses. Rent, food, dependents, et cetera. It's wise to make a compromise.
Do I see myself in this position long-term?
Sometimes we use jobs as stepping stones to get us to other jobs, but you'll want to make sure that you can maintain longevity at any job you have. It looks better to employers to see that you have a history at a company, rather than jump from one job to another.
Do I have goals for myself and my work?
Staying motivated and wanting to do well are vital aspects of a healthy work environment. Don't just do what you're told, but set personal goals for yourself to be a better employee and show your supervisors that you can handle their challenges and exceed their expectations.
Do I believe in my company?
Honesty is always our policy. You have to believe in the company you represent, otherwise you're pretty much lying to yourself, your coworkers, and your boss. Passion will ultimately keep you at a job and make it more interesting.
Am I happy?
Here's the most important question of all. Do you wake up everyday excited to get the day started? To finish a project you've been working on all week? To go out for drinks with your coworkers to kick off the weekend? Happiness in a job is easily recognizable, and if you don't have it, you should try to find it.