Tuesday, October 14, 2014

As the year 2014 wounds down, you may be thinking where your career heads next

I just met my friends for dinner. We chat and talk about our work and usual, routine stuff. One of them mentions that his job is mundane. Nothing interesting. He has worked in the company for 4 years. The thought of changing his job lingers in his mind regularly. Another feels that the company did not recognise his contribution due to his perceived low remuneration package. He is not sure how to ask for a pay raise till I draw out some step-by-step plan. I told him the 5 ways to ask for pay raise

Whatever the causes, most of the working professionals (at some stages) will think about where they are right now. Especially performance appraisals period where you are assessed by the company and you express comments about them. And your start to wonder after the appraisal session. Although each may have their objective in place, for some reasons, individual expectation changes due to evolving internal and external factors. (I will talk about factors in future)

What makes thing worse is that the clock starts ticking away relentlessly, making you wonder how much you have missed out. The end of 2014 is a great moment for self-reflection.

Maybe you need to draw a distinction between a job and a career. At times, we get trapped by the daily scope of our job that your definition of a rewarding career is blurred. A good alternative is to trigger some points of consideration. So, I have prepared 10 basic questions which I hope can be useful for you. For instance, if you can’t illustrate a detailed, unique achievement/a segment of your track record that you are personally proud of during your job, considering you are one who likes challenges and scalability without prior personal commitments, how will you be able to know and therefore leverage your ability to source the next job that fits you?

There can be more questions but first of all, let me bring you to a simple exercise.

1. Write down the advantages and disadvantages of your Employer

Take a piece of paper. Separate into 2 sections – one is pros and the other is cons. Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes of uninterrupted space. Find out how much you have written. For example, you find that your Employer is time flexible. Thus, you can arrange a “work-from-home” schedule(pro). However, career advancement opportunities are limited.(con).

If you are struggling to pen down your opinion, there may be some emotions in you that cause the shift. I will suggest taking this little exercise to a nice, quiet cafe, a park or a natural environment that will induce calmness in you. No interference, no Facebook beep, no Twitter updates. Or you can choose to contact me and I can provide some free advices.

2. Once you are done, highlight "one-pro and one-con" that matter to you most

Let’s face it. There is no 100% perfect company. So, we need to weigh our opportunity cost by listing one good and one bad that is really affecting you. Don’t let others influence your choices. To determine which is the most important to you, think about what truly motivates you. (I have some motivational phrases here) In other words, without this positive benefit, you will have head for the exit. No questions asked. Many may put salary as number one. Realistically, this is true in Singapore. But think again. Are you paid daily, per hour, per job done? When you step foot into the office, do you expect a pay cheque at the end of the day?

The hard truth is “No”. The little, daily offering that gets you pleasantly delighted and at ease can be the pro that keeps your corporate engine moving. Write it down immediately.

Most working professionals will put wonderful people around them that gets them up and running. The “open-concept” company culture and office setting inspire them to collaborate and they liked the fact that people are kind and friendly. In teams and sometimes across divisions. Having this may reduce the chance of politicking. Therefore, this can be your pro.

3. List down 3 questions and connect to “one-pro, one-con”

With “one pro and one con” right in front of you, take a fresh piece of paper.

Ask yourself:

A. Where is my end point finally?

B. What do I really want to seek in my career?

C. At this point of my life, what type of experiences do I want in the next 5 years?

Notice that I underline the keywords? End point, seek and experiences. Write down answers to the above that make sense to you.

At the current junction, your end point could be a targeted monthly salary that meets your expenses. Hopefully, you can learn how to buy assets that create more wealth rather than depending on a pay cheque. For this salary has limitations.

Seek can be a dream. A measurable yet possible reality. One may seek to be a Manager in future and therefore find out how possible to reach this stage.

Experiences are holistic and differ from individual to individual. Some may feel contented and not yearn for any career opportunities. They prefer family-oriented work environment that offers fringe benefits, such as “time-off” for certain days of the year. Hence, they prefer to stay where they are right now instead of evaluating the next career move.


Mapping point 3 to “one-pro, one-con” that matters to you most is vital. Put them side-by-side and self-analyse your current position. You can foresee similar patterns after structuring your thinking process. Do this now. By end 2014, you can be well informed. Should you remain confused or need further clarification, drop me an email and I will be in touch with you.

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