By Joni Lindquist

We hear often from clients who are either dissatisfied with their career arc or who wonder if they are where they should be in terms of career projection.  As a financial and career coach, my answer is “it depends.”  I encourage people to NOT compare themselves to others, but rather focus on what they want and assess the progress to that benchmark.  I suggest asking yourself the following 9 questions:

  1. Where am I compared to my goals? Be honest with yourself. If you haven’t set goals previously, then start now (see question #8).
  2. Do I truly enjoy what I do? Am I able to use my core strengths routinely in my work? If you enjoy what you do, you are more likely to put the time and effort (and it will seem like less effort) in it.  If you don’t enjoy the underlying “thing” you do at your work, you may need to make the difficult decision to switch careers.
  3. Am I paid fairly? Use to get ranges for comparable positions in your area. Consider years of experience and size of company.  Generally, larger companies will pay more.  Does your compensation level support the lifestyle you want?  Remember that most of us would like to do more things than our income allows.  The key question is; Do you make enough and are you on a path to support your primary goals in life?
  4. How does my work fit with my personal life? It’s not all about the money. Baby boomers are figuring this out while the millennials are way ahead in striving for good work-life balance.  Does your job and career provide some flexibility to enjoy your personal life?  Sometimes it may be worth earning less to have a better life.  Better to “work to live, not live to work.”
  5. How close is my work to the core of how my company/industry makes money? You will likely advance (if that’s what you want) in your career if you develop new revenue or deliver the core service of your firm. The closer you are to “the action” the more valuable you tend to be.  You can still advance if you are in a support role, but understand the company may view you differently.
  6. Do I have active mentor(s) and sponsors? Mentors coach you and provide guidance. Sponsors advocate for you and position you for development and promotional opportunities.  It’s important to have both.
  7. What is my next career move? Where do I want to be in 3 years? Know where you want to go.  This can be very hard.  Talk with your sponsors, mentors, bosses and people outside your firm about possibilities.  Sometimes we limit ourselves, which is why it’s good to go outside your company to get other viewpoints.  Set three-year goals.
  8. What are the industry trends for my targeted roles? Technology, regulation and consumer demand continuously change industries. Understand how your current industry is evolving to assess if it will provide the types of opportunities suited to your strengths and interests.
  9. What do I need to do to move to the next level? Lastly, get a handle on what skills, experience, training, certification, etc. you need to take the next step.  If this fits with your work-life priorities, go get it!

These questions should help you assess where you are and where you want to go in your career.  If you feel you are at a crossroads or don’t know your next steps, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact me –, or call (913) 345-1881.