How do you evaluate your professional successes in 2013?
As the new year unfolds, many may be taking a close look at how they fared professionally in the past year. Even though this exercise may be frustrating for those who didn’t accomplish a big hope like finding a new job or winning a promotion, there are many criteria that define a successful year, which are not necessarily associated with new titles, different jobs, etc.
To evaluate your professional success in 2013, take a look at the following areas:
You may be in the same position you were in a year ago, but are you doing your job more efficiently? Have you been able to increase productivity, lead your team through more exciting projects, or simply do a better job in your position. Any and all of these are success points that shouldn’t be overlooked. Just like you likely will be raising these points through you annual assessment, take a moment and pat yourself on the back for your nice accomplishments. Many times small wins on the day-to-day activities go unnoticed. These however are what distinguish a great worker from just a good one.
Have you got really close to a dream job before someone else was selected? Don’t despair. Getting almost to the finish line means you likely will get it, or a similar position, next time. It is important to celebrate this as an accomplishment instead of lamenting the loss of the job opportunity. With looking back at what went right through that hiring process and what remained an obstacle in your way, you can position yourself for making this year’s opportunity a win.
Avoid peer pressure
A big source of frustration in assessing professional developing is looking at what others have been doing. Although some comparison can be healthy, there are many circumstances that may be different, making the comparison unfair. With that in mind, it makes more sense to compare your situation to where you have been and what you want to accomplish. Other people’s achievements should be just a signal on your path rather than being considered as a missed opportunity.
Document your progress by revising your resume even if you’re not looking for a job immediately. The new year is a good time to update your resume with the highlight of your professional accomplishments in the past year. Add major projects, training, awards, etc. This exercise should help you recognize your own professional development as you put it in words. In addition, taking a look at where you stand professionally can help you formulate where you want to be next. Is it time to plan for a promotion, job change or just continue on your path? This thinking is the first step in taking action this year.
Although your financial status may be influenced by many factors that aren’t necessarily related to your job income, taking a look at how you fare financially can be a good indication of your professional development. A pay raise or a bonus is often celebrated momentarily and forgotten, but the impact of either can be positive on the long term. Have you lived a more comfortable life through the past year? Have you been able to afford new items, upgrade your possessions or simply save? If yes, this financial comfort reflects your professional development. At the end of the day, money often follows being professionally established.
Even though you should celebrate where you are professionally, it is important to avoid being stagnant in your profession. Always look at what you can do next. Once you’ve come up with your list of accomplishments in 2013, build up your plans for the next phase of your success. You will need to decide how you push yourself up the professional ladder one step at a time. Even if taking a new job isn’t in your plans, immerse yourself in a new project, find a training program that helps you polish your skills in an area that needs improvement, etc. This constant care for your career will keep you on track and will pay off handsomely when it’s time to move jobs or position yourself for a promotion.
Rania Oteify, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is currently a Seattle-based editor.