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It is normal people change their approach to their careers as the years go by. Careers cannot only rise and fall in importance, they can begin to take turns to match the growing maturity of each one of us as well as our changing priorities.
In fact, people who are flexible enough to create this sort of harmony between their professional path and their life interests are more likely to be successful in both. But not everyone is able to recognise these changes are part of life.
They see professional development and success as a one-way path that must only take them to the top in a particular profession. That is a big mistake and somehow unrealistic. Although this view is common among many, it is a must that you frequently review your satisfaction with your career. The earlier you detect that your career (whether it is the type of work or its circumstances) doesn't suit you, the better you will be positioned to make a change.
To assess your career satisfaction, review the following areas:
Impact on personal life
Is your career a hurdle to developing or maintain personal relationships? Does it impact your family life or friendships? There are many causes that can turn a career into a social burden. For example, having to work long or irregular hours can be one. Many people in emotionally draining jobs — think medical investigators — find it difficult to not take their work home.
Such circumstances can work for people in the short run, but once they begin to take a toll on their personal lives, they will need to rethink their work-life balance. Remember, it is not a matter of profession, but how you handle it. No need for finger pointing, but if it doesn't work for you and your social network, perhaps it is time to find a new area.
Money is important, but ...
A dream career at the age of 20 may lose its glamour after years of practice and when financial commitments begin to grow. With bills mounting, you may find that the financial status that the job provides is even more critical. This can be a turning point for many because this realisation may mean changing careers to something that provides a better pay.
Many make the mistake, however, of rushing into a job that doesn't agree with them at other levels, triggering another wave of dissatisfaction.
Money can also lose its importance. A person who has been stuck with a job solely for its paycheck may realise that with a lifestyle adjustment, pursuing a different career that is more fulfilling is possible. Whatever the reason, being conscious of what really matters most is a good sign of sound thinking about money and career.
A good example is a person who may accept less money in return for career satisfaction or someone who quits a corporate job to start a business. Despite the financial drop initially, this person may find gratification in working for the ultimate goal and being the boss.
Clash with your values
It doesn't have to be illegal to be uncomfortable. People have different sets of values, and a job may turn into a moral burden if it doesn't fit within your value system. For example, a salesperson who is unconvinced of the employer's sales tactics may be losing sleep over how he earned his commission.
Less drastically, if your company, like many, puts shareholders' interests ahead of consumers, you may be struggling to come to terms with that. You may do some soul searching about the exact details and your acceptance — or lack thereof — of the situation. But at the end of the day, a change of course may be the only viable option.
This clash of values doesn't necessarily involve any shady activity. It can be just that you reach a stage when you want to work in a job that serves a particular cause. For example, someone may find that his or her passion isn't to crunch numbers for a production, and rather in working with an organisation that helps impoverished children.
With some transferable skills and a sincere interest, this person probably will be to make the shift and achieve a higher level of career satisfaction.
Click on OODA loop and learn how to apply this philosophy to achieve growth
Source: Rania Oteify, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor