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In Your Career, Look Back Before You Look Forward

New Year Career Help

My most recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch Career Column tackles post-Holiday and pre-New Year career perspective. Below is an excerpt.


Christmas — the day we’ve looked forward to all month (maybe even all year!) — ends. The presents are opened, the guests are gone. What do we do then? We start thinking about New Year’s Eve. And then New Year’s Day. And then all the things the new year holds.

Simply put, we look to whatever’s next. We’re simply wired that way as humans, looking forward to something we anticipate, or we want to change. This is why so many of us make reactive “resolutions” — but I promise, this column is not about the “r” word!

But resolution-base thinking is a behavior pattern we’re conditioned to embrace this time of year. And that’s OK. The problem is too many people focus on making life changes right away, reacting to something we don’t like (a “resolution”-driven mindset) before really taking the time to look back on the factors that are leading to the need to make a change in the first place.

My point is this — you have to look back before you can look forward.

Start by asking yourself some questions that will help you take stock of your life and career. Are you where you hoped you would be this time last year or even the year before that? Are you completely satisfied with your professional relationships? Do you desire a promotion? Are there things you still want to accomplish outside of work? If so, what are they? Are you thinking about making a big investment like a new car, private school for your children or a new home?

Another question to ask — have you been underestimating the power of partnering with others? Asking for advice or counsel from others might just be the thing to help get you started in achieving your career satisfaction…

Read the whole Career Column here.