Last week I was super productive. Not just with the everyday tasks, but with big items that had been brewing for a while. I was able to use my PM experience, my creativity, and my leadership skills to make a positive impact in my company. I felt fantastic when I shut down for the weekend.
Not every week will be like that, of course.
But these good weeks help reinforce that I’m in the right position, with the right company. I’m on the right track with my career.
How can I tell? Despite being crazy busy, I was motivated, happy, and setbacks didn’t get me down.
Honestly, there have been several times in my life where it was just…all wrong.
I wish I had taken a step back and realized the tailspin I was in before things got bad enough to interfere with other parts of my life. And I hope I would have had the courage to make a change sooner than I did.
I now take a bit of time every year for a self-check-in. And I encourage you to do the same.
Once each quarter or so—not just in January—take a random Saturday afternoon, go to your favorite coffee shop, and consider these questions:
- How many banner days (or weeks) have you had at work recently?
- How many days did you dread work?
- When you shut down at the end of the day, are you energized or exhausted?
- When you shut down on Friday afternoons, is it with the satisfaction of a job well done?
- Do you enjoy your 1:1s with your manager?
- Do you feel you’re making a difference at work?
- How guilty do you feel taking an hour on a Saturday to do this self-reflection?
These are just a few of the questions to ask yourself. What they’re driving at is providing clarity on whether your work, your company, and your position are the right fit.
There is a difference between being in the right position (e.g. Project Manager) or the right environment. I love being a Project Manager. But I can’t stick to just managing my projects. I need to get my hands dirty in the Business Analyst role, too. I want to design, configure, write, and manage. I thrive in an energetic, fast-paced culture.
I’ve talked with many PMs who don’t want anything to do with BA work. They can’t stand chaos and are easily frustrated…and overwhelmed. But, unlike me, they excel at detailed schedule and resource management, Steering Committee meetings, and budgets. They are in the right profession, too, but we wouldn’t swap environments for the world.
If you like what you do, but are often frustrated (Are you making a difference at work? Is it easy to close the laptop on Friday afternoon?), you may be in the right field…but not at the right company.
If you’re working overtime while your colleagues go home at night; if you feel like you’re treading water every single day; if your family walks on eggshells when you come home from work, are you in the right job?
I haven’t always been in the right job…or company. Over the years, I’ve learned what drives me and what drains me. I’m better now at recognizing the signs that I need to make a change. And I wish I had taken the opportunity to check in with myself when I was mid-career. I could have saved myself a lot of frustration and wasted time.
My wish is for you to take an hour and be honest with yourself. I hope you’re in a good place, with a fulfilling job, position, and company. If not, what pieces don’t fit? And what is the next step you can take to fix it?