Raise your hand if you ever felt like you were going through the motions at work. For roughly 3 weeks. Good. I’m glad I’m not the only one.
Many of us in our 20s haven’t yet landed our dream job (see, you’re not alone!). Heck, a lot of those 30 somethings out there haven’t managed to find it either. With how crappy (for lack of a better term) our economy has been since I graduated college 7 years ago, many people are just happy to find a job in their field of study, let alone one that meets everything on their job wish list.
However, even though many of us haven’t managed to find that dream job (with the flexible work hours and free yoga classes and UNBELIEVABLE salary), that doesn’t mean we should stop working towards it. Whether you love or loathe the job that currently pays your bills, for many us, this isn’t the finish line. We want more than what we have now – a better office, more learning opportunities, chances to network outside of our company, and (don’t deny it) higher pay.
Also, let’s be honest about something here: for a majority of us, our full-time job is going to be our largest source of income over our lifetime and give us the greatest potential for income growth. We are dependent on that one source (i.e. our employer) to provide us with enough income to give us the life we want to live – the Friday night dinner dates, annual vacations to Colorado or New York or the Dominican, gymnastics lessons for our kids. If we aren’t doing something to protect that income (and that travel/music/house fund), then how secure do you feel in being able to continue to live that kind of life? Or increase your income enough to get there?
I get it – we all have bad weeks. I’ve had multiple where I feel like I’m just putting in my time or making mistake after mistake after mistake. Not a great feeling, especially when you’re a perfectionist (me) and overachiever (also me). Damn, I make myself sound like such a fun time.
Anyhoo, this is why I came up with a little work week review checklist for myself – to put myself back in control of my career destiny. I’m not going to lie, while I love the work I’m doing, I’m always looking for opportunities to increase my chance to climb the corporate ladder – not only to learn more and increase my job satisfaction (sorry, had to be politically correct for a second), but also to grow my income (your girl’s got a travel budget to fund). And without something to keep myself in check, I have found myself to just be treading water instead of swimming towards the finish line.
Here is why I’ve found having a weekly self-check is so important:
You can identify the “holes in your boat,” the cause, and any trends in those weaknesses
You can identify opportunities to add value to company
It allows you to assess your progress to your goals and set new ones for the following week
It tracks your accomplishments, which is a great when updating a resume
Most importantly, this process allows you to become a better skilled and more knowledgeable employee and ultimately propel you to a higher income. And who doesn’t want that?
I’ve included a copy of my weekly checklist for you to download and use yourself (yes, I’ve fancied it up – my version was pretty bare). This is UBER easy and takes less than 5 minutes to do, so when you’ve mentally checked out at 4:50 on Friday afternoon (because don’t lie, we all do), pull this puppy out and take a few minutes to reflect back on your week. And feel free to modify it, especially if your company values some qualities over others or if you have specific targets (i.e. sales, content, etc.) to hit. You’ll finally be the one taking control of your career and will see the difference in your performance in no time (and so will your bosses).
Good luck on that next raise, ladies! (Gents, go ahead and use this, too. My apologies for the girly design, but you're at the mercy of my style choices.)
Have a tool or tip you use to keep yourself in check each week? Feel free to share in the comments section below!