Spring Clean Your Career

Image courtesy of Pixnio

Whether you’ve been thinking about your career because of Inspiring From Within or because of life in general, now is a great time to start spring cleaning your career.

What differentiates spring cleaning from regular tidying is the depth and comprehensiveness of your efforts.  This is the time for taking stock of what you have.  In terms of your career, this could start with taking stock of what gives you the most meaning in your work.

One way to start that spring cleaning is with a Career SWOT.  Reviewing your signature strengths, your weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats in your environment is particularly useful if you would like to develop a new strategy for managing your career, or if you anticipate changes in your workplace.  The SWOT can help you work through your options for proactively handling that change.

Complementary to the Career SWOT is a review of the impacts you make – and could make – at work.  In four columns or quadrants, list:

  • Impacts you currently make and that you find meaningful
  • Impacts you currently make and wish that you didn’t (for example, maybe you’re known for efficiently processing student requests, but see that it sometimes leads to students feeling unwelcome)
  • Impacts that you do not currently make, and wish you could
  • Impacts that you do not currently make, and want to avoid (this may not be applicable to you unless, for example, you’re considering moving into a different role)

The first and third lists might form the basis of a career conversation with your manager, or the inspiration for your own volunteer work: how can you make more of the contributions you find most meaningful?  The second and fourth lists can guide you in the training and professional development you seek, or even help you avoid moving into a role that would be inherently unrewarding.

Of course, these are not the only activities that can help you clear away the dust.  You’ll find more on our Personal Assets and Career Management pages.

If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.

Oprah Winfrey