Something odd happened to me the other day. A colleague of mine asked me a simple question and I was speechless; I couldn’t think of a good answer for him. The question was so simple.
“So, what’s next for you Drew?”
It caught me completely off guard and he went on to qualify what he meant. He explained to me that he didn’t think I belonged where I am and said he thought I had the personality and charisma to do pretty much whatever I wanted. As I gave him an answer to simply buy time we had to switch topics because someone else came to join the conversation. I was and still am flattered by his comments, which got me wondering, “What is next for me?”
Through school and even through work, there is a path to follow and I’ve been proceeding along without too much questioning. Should I be though?
The question, “what’s next?” is such a simple question to ask, but such a hard question to answer. We go through our whole lives doing what we are told and what we are expected to do. I’ve realized we don’t need too though. We need to keep growing and challenging ourselves. How do we do that? Consider the following:
Are there growth opportunities where I am? You can work as hard as heck, but if there is nowhere for you to go, there is nowhere for you to go. Plain and simple. It is always best to look at what you are doing and seeing what the career path is. Don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail and make an opportunity if there isn’t one there.
Do I have more skills to offer than are being utilized here? Did you excel at something in the beginning and then get coined as the “go-to guy” for that thing? This can happen, but the important part is to talk to your boss and let him or her know you can take on more work. Don’t just say you want to do something, instead show him you can do more for your company/agency/department.
Do I truly enjoy what I am doing here? This is probably the most common question people ask when they ask about your job. Most people simply answer “yes” out of habit and without really thinking about it, but you really should enjoy what you are doing. You’ll work for 40+ hours a week for about 30+ years and there will certainly be late nights and working weekends; enjoying what you do will make the time fly by.
Just because you think you have a great job and feel happy where you are, it isn’t a sin to look forward. It’s essential to being successful; if you don’t know where you are going, how are you supposed to get there?
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs