Reevaluating Your Life

Just this past weekend, I attended my husband’s 10-year high school reunion.

I was nervous but, really, it’s a lot less scary to be at a reunion where no one knows you than at one where you feel the need to prove yourself to tormentors past.

Still, it got me thinking: If I were to encounter my entire graduating class, in the flesh, tomorrow, how would I feel about the things I’ve accomplished thus far? Am I at a place I can be proud of?

More specifically, is my career where I want it to be?

You don’t have to wait for your high school reunion, though, to evaluate where you’re at. Career goals change over time, and so does life in general. The job that was such a fab fit a mere two or three years ago may be a strain on your well-being now.

I’m going to assume that your work is more than just a paycheck to you. Based upon this premise, let’s go through the questions you should be asking yourself periodically in order to ensure that you’re on track for career satisfaction.

Does it excite you?

When your alarm goes off in the morning, do you leap out of bed and dance your way to the shower with bells on? Do you find yourself not minding the restrictive pantyhose, or the drawn-out commute, just because you’re so darn excited to do what it is you do? Can you not stop talking about work in your off-hours? When you’re passionate about the work you’re doing, you’re much more productive and efficient. After all, you just can’t help throwing your all into it!

Do you respect your employer?

I mean this to encompass both the people you report to, and the product you’re creating. If you can’t bring yourself to tell people who you’re working for, what product you’re creating, etc., there’s a problem. During a period of unemployment, I actually handed out food samples at supermarkets to bring in some extra cash. When my best friend’s dad ran into me during one of these gigs, he smirked and asked, “So, is this what you’re doing now?” I wanted to die. It was obvious I had to step up my job search and find something I could be proud of.

Are you making the money you deserve?

We discussed this a bit back when I posted about providing yourself with a sweet benefits package. But it’s worth considering even if you’re not the one issuing your paychecks. It’s important to keep abreast of the salary norms within your industry, so as to be sure that you’re earning the amount you deserve. If you’re not, it’s time to negotiate a higher salary with your boss, or build a raise into your own budgetary plans.

What about benefits?

This extends the discussion of employee benefits. What benefits are important to you for the life you’re leading? Would you like the month’s worth of paid vacation days the Europeans get automatically? Would you refuse to work somewhere without paid maternity leave? What about commuting plans, or health coverage? Is your company employee-friendly?

Does it leave you time for the lifestyle you crave?

I’ve just made it through the first year of marriage, and am hoping to have kids within a few years from now. With the hours I used to be working, I never saw my new husband (not to mention friends or family), and I felt as if our relationship was suffering. I made an effort to cut back on work hours and schedule in together time. I also set careers goals that would allow me to be around more often once it came time for children. What are you missing in your life right now?

Do you feel valued for the work you’re doing?

This one’s self-explanatory. Just as it’s hard to keep writing when you feel your words are going into a void, it’s difficult to keep on doing anything if you feel it’s all for naught, or if you feel you’re un- or underappreciated. If this is the case, it’s time to become your own cheerleader!

Are you being challenged?

This one’s a biggie, because, if you’re just coasting through, it’s near impossible to drum up the excitement and feelings of meaning and appreciation mentioned above. It’s probably why so many people job-hop these days, or put together a “patchwork paycheck.” Jobs are at their most fulfilling when we feel challenged by them. If we’re at the point when we know all there is to know, it’s probably time to move on. Because where’s the fun in that!?

You should be asking yourself these questions periodically. And if too many of the answers are “no,” you should be asking yourself how to make them “yeses.”

Are you where you want to be?


  1. […] Slim first asks readers to create a picture of their ideal life, providing a handy-dandy list of questions to use as a guideline. Reading through it only made me realize how I was from the ideal work environment, the idea balance between work and life, the ideal level of income, the ideal at-home business… It’s nice to be reminded that, even when you escape the 9-to-5 grind, you should constantly be reevaluating your situation. […]

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