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Mid-Career Check-in: How to Figure Out Your Next Steps

Here are some ways to explore what’s next.

Check out this article on writing your next act for more ideas.

Look Inside
It’s time for a bit of soul searching:

  • Why are you stuck/bored/unsatisfied/unengaged?
  • Can you narrow the cause of your feelings to one person you work with?
  • Have you been at your company too long?
  • Are you creatively and strategically stifled?
  • Do you want to stay where you are or are you ready for a new adventure?

Talk to the People Who Know You Best
Humans are very consistent. Our strengths and weaknesses show up in all facets of our lives.  Both will be evident to those around you, including peers, friends, family, boss, and direct reports. Ask others what you do well (what are you known for), where they can depend on you, and where they can’t. You’ll get a lot of intel that will inform how you engage with your work and those around you.

Understand Your Assets and Challenges
Assessments are a tool to prime your thinking. You may not agree with all of your results. But focusing on what you do resonate with will help you plot your next steps. Assessments can also give you great information you can share with others when you are networking for opportunities inside or outside of your organization.

You can take these assessments on your own (without a facilitator):

Network Inside Your Company
Do you like your company but want to find some other way to contribute? Do your interests help further the goals of the organization? If so, how can you create a new opportunity for yourself? Talking to people inside the organization can help you understand its business needs as well as other areas where you could potentially fit in. Sometimes working with another division can help you determine “Yes, this is great!” or  “No, I have no interest” before you take a bigger leap.

Network Outside the Company
Look through your LinkedIn contacts and see who is doing work that interests to you. Then start connecting with those people. Don’t forget to prepare your three to five key questions before any meetings or calls. It’s respectful to others’ time and gets you more in the strategic mindset to get all the answers you need.

Reflect
Without reflection, all the steps above become busy work instead of meaningful work. When we don’t reflect, we can float without intention — and wake up five years later realizing we wasted precious time. Reflection requires attention and time, but the benefits are priceless. It can be as simple as a 15-minute walk twice a week without your phone and just your thoughts. Or it might be a coffee-shop date with yourself on Tuesday mornings before work.

For most of us, our careers last 40-plus years and span many chapters. You have the power to create your own narrative. You just need some time, focus, and motivation to bring it all together and determine your next steps.

Want some help? You know where to find us!

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