We’ve all had those days at work where we feel like we’ve gotten nothing done. Where does the time go? Here are some startling numbers:
- The average manager is interrupted every eight minutes.
- The average employee spends 28 percent of his/her time dealing with unnecessary interruptions followed by “recovery time” to get back on track.
- The time spent per day being interrupted and trying to refocus is 2.1 hours.
How about your career? Are you feeling like you’ve gotten nothing done there, too?
Whether or not you have a written, clearly defined career path, you have goals you want to accomplish. When it comes to jobs, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between opportunities and obstacles. Learning how to differentiate between them is key, because sometimes they can look a lot alike.
For example, let’s say it’s your dream to go to medical school, but in the meantime, you need steady money, so you take a job that lets you use your IT skills and get paid well for it. What a great opportunity, right?
But then you realize how heavy the workload is. You work 12-hour days, often weekends, and rarely find the time to study. You miss the MCAT testing date you’d been shooting for. Now the job has become an obstacle.
So how can you avoid career obstacles without missing career opportunities?
1. Evaluate your long-term goals. What do you ultimately hope to accomplish? Then, think about all the necessary steps it takes to get there. Analyze any opportunity by how it fits into your plans. Will it benefit you in the long run, or will it ultimately set you further back?
2. Consider your short-term goals, like getting a degree, getting a job in a specific field (to eventually work your way up), or just having a source of income. Consider opportunities in light of whether or not they’ll help you achieve your short-term goals, while also pushing you closer to the long-term goal.
3. Weigh the opportunity costs. What are the benefits of you taking this supposed opportunity? What are the disadvantages? Are there any other solutions or alternatives you can choose from, and, if so, how do they measure up to each other?
A Career Path Is Crucial
If you’re already employed, take a look at your desired job or jobs within your organization. Then, chart a course through jobs and departments, with the help of your supervisor or manager and human resources staff, that is the most likely career path that will let you achieve your goal. Recognize that obtaining the job you desire may require lateral moves, departmental transfers and job promotions along the way.
If you’re not in the company or position you want, create a plan to develop the skills, development opportunities and experiences you’ll need to progress along your career path.