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Now, more than ever is a great time and opportunity for many of us to reflect on our current career and determine whether our values and objectives are still in alignment. I’m sure many people have already conducted some degree of review, but for those that have been waiting for the way forward to become a little clearer – what is the process?

Two words are generally used for this time of year as the end of the financial year is fast approaching – Reflection and Review. They are of equal relevance now in helping work through your Career Stocktake.

Reflection – Start with a blank sheet of paper

Start writing down all the things that come to mind that have impacted on you, your family, workplace, lessons learned – positive and negative. Note form or bullet points are best, or if you are adept at mind mapping, then even better. It is best to determine a period, generally 12 months, but depending on the circumstance, you may choose to vary this.

To help with the process it helps to list out as headings, areas for review:

  • Finances
  • Family & Friends
  • Personal development
  • Health
  • Business/Work
  • Community

You may have other headings you would like to add or replace from this list. The primary purpose is to help you direct your thoughts to specific areas of relevance as you work through the process. Give yourself a couple of days to complete the task – trying to complete it in one sitting will likely cause you to leave some important things out.

Once completed, read through what you have listed and mark each item as either significant, medium, or insignificant in terms of impact. The “traffic light” method of highlighting in Red, Yellow or Green generally works best.

Reimagine – Another blank sheet of paper

This is where you write down any tasks, roles that you have enjoyed doing (past or present); tasks or roles that you perform/ed well and tasks or roles that you have always been interested in, but have never had the opportunity or confidence to go for.

At this stage of the process, you only generally need three headings – Past, Present and Future. As with the reflection stage, give yourself some time to complete the exercise, because you will forget some important items.

Once you have completed this task, take the time to review what you have listed. What your objective is here is to look for any link or correlation with anything you have listed. You will find some correlation and it may present as a couple of different roles, or tasks that lie within some diverse roles.

It is also time for some honesty at this stage. You are looking to identify plausible scenarios that you can direct your energy towards – they may be a stretch or not, but not an over-reach as that will bring with it, unwanted stress.

It is also during this stage of the Career Stocktake that you will make some decisions, which may include:

  • You are happy with your current situation and the role you are performing;
  • You would like to position yourself for a promotion with your current employer;
  • You need to negotiate a better work/life balance with your current employer;
  • You need to seek out one of the different roles you have identified with a new employer; or
  • There are some things that you need to change outside of work that will ultimately improve your performance at work.

Test your thinking

No more blank sheets – time to reach out to your network. Hopefully, you will have a disparate group of people (preferably not within your current work environment), or mentor/s that you can speak to about the decisions you have made. At this stage of the process, you need to be challenged about your thinking.

This will provide much of the clarity you need to establish an action plan to achieve the outcomes you are wanting.

Once you have fully tested your thinking and most likely modified some of your objectives, your action plan will have largely been completed for you – time to get started!

You may find this a “little clunky” initially, but as you become more accustomed to this form of review you will be able to adapt the process to other personal or work-related challenges.