It’s the beginning of a whole new year. Hopefully you’ve gotten some time off recently to recharge your batteries a bit, before heading back to the grind. While you’re getting back into the ol’ routine, maybe this is a good time to consider whether or not that routine is still worthwhile?
Are you Happy With Your Job?
It’s easy to get into a funk where you roll out of bed each day to do the same task or face the same challenges over and over again. Maybe there are things in your day to day grind that you hate, but do them anyway, because it’s part of your job. No big deal, everyone has these sorts of chores. I’m sure that nobody loves every single part of their job. But if you’ve gotten a break from work and you can’t bear to think about going back to that routine, maybe that should tell you something about your job. Are you really happy doing what you’re doing, or are you doing it because it’s a steady paycheck? Are you doing it because it’s what you know, and change is hard? Are you doing it because you feel like you have no other choice?
There are a ton of reasons to stay with a company or stay in a position, but really at the most basic level, ask yourself this: “Am I happy doing what I’m doing?” If the answer is “Yes”, then take note of this answer and remember this moment, for when you have those awful days at work when you’re ready to flip over a table and walk out the door.
You’re happy with your job, you just had a bad day, now let’s move on.
Now if your answer was “No”, then start asking yourself why you’re not happy with your job and what could make your work life more enjoyable. Are you away from home too much? Are you too busy to do your job well? Are you not happy with management? Are you grumpy because of a position you’re in and not the company itself? These questions might help you figure out what actions to take to make 2018 a better year for you in your job role. Maybe you can have a discussion about a career path with your manager? Maybe you can talk to your boss about a role change so you can be home more? Maybe that even means a pay decrease, but you’d be in a happier place overall?
What Else Aren’t You Happy With?
Do you feel like others are passing you buy? Have you been slacking too much and not working on certifications needed to move you into a happier place? What things did you neglect to do last year that you can resolve to do this year? Now, when you’ve got that list, put a quick task list or a plan together to figure out how you want to achieve them. And don’t worry if you don’t achieve all of them either. Give yourself a stretch goal that might be virtually unobtainable this year. You know its a long shot to hit so if you don’t make the goal, it shouldn’t crush your spirit, but you should make a plan to get there regardless. The journey towards reaching that goal will likely give you plenty of value in other things.
For example, say you set a stretch goal of getting a VCDX this year. Maybe you won’t get it, but along the way, you figure out how to be confident in front of a room full of people, or you figure out how to build better designs because of what you’ve learned. There are tons of benefits in trying things, even if you haven’t completed them.
Remember, It’s OK to Fail
We’re not successful all of the time. It’s important to realize that just because you didn’t reach your goal doesn’t mean something awful is about to happen to you, or that you are a failure. Some of the most important things that I’ve learned came from failing to achieve a goal. Usually this comes with a certain amount of aggravation and reflection but ultimately ends up to be a good experience in the end. Sometimes there are things outside of our control that get in the way of our goals. Maybe a sick family member, maybe you realized that time spent towards training for a certification might be time away from family, and that is the thing that makes you most happy. Just remember that it’s OK to fail and it’s OK to admit that you’ve failed. Don’t take it from me:
Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters. – Yoda
I know what you’re thinking, “I can make life decisions any time of the year and a new year has no impact on my ability to do that.” Well, if that’s what you’re thinking, then you’re right, but for many of us, the end of the year comes with some time away from our daily routines. Out of ear shot from the corporate world for even a little bit where you can see the forest for the trees. You can come up for air for a second and take a look around, and maybe you’ll see what things are really important to you.
Take a second to figure out what makes you happy, and what doesn’t. When you figure that out, then you can make your plan on what changes you want to make this year. Maybe they are just small tweaks, or maybe you’re looking for a new career. Either way, it’s nice to be able to identify a path forward even if there is a chance of failure along the way. Good luck on your 2018 adventure.