Has this year turned out as you planned?

When it comes to having a top-notch Fire Service career you need to be firmly in the driving seat. It may seem easier to think ‘I’ll see what comes along’ but without clear direction who knows where you might end up? Probably not where you want to be! Given that most people spend more time at work than they do sleeping, it might be worth making sure you take the steps you need to take you where you intended.

We all read a lot in the press about how tough things are at the moment for people trying to change jobs, find a job, keep a job or progress their career. But yet, people still do manage to do these things. Are you one of them?

Answer these questions with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and then take a look at the result evaluations below.

1. Do you have a pretty good idea of what you want your life to look like?

2. Do you prefer to make things happen yourself rather than ‘go with the flow’?

3. Would you like more challenge, financial reward or fulfilment from a job?

4. Did you hope your career would be more on track by now?

5. Are you in the same or slightly worse place in your career now than you were 12 months ago?

6. Do you think there is a job or position which might inspire or motivate you more than the one you are doing now?

7. Do you lack some of the skills, qualifications or experience you need to get the job you want?

8. Are you someone who takes the lead themselves rather than waits for someone else to tell you what to do?

9. Do you suspect you could have accomplished more to move yourself forward in the last year?

10. Would you like to make more progress next year but have doubts how to do it?

Mostly ‘yes’

There’s good news and bad. The good news is that you probably have a fair idea of what you want (even if it’s mostly defined by knowing more clearly what you don’t want!) The problem is, there is a good chance life is getting in the way and you aren’t achieving what you know you are capable of. That’s not an uncommon story- how many of us read those dreaded words on a school report ‘could do better?’

We all know how it feels to be frustrated with someone we care about who isn’t pushing themselves to achieve their potential. We can see it’s a waste and we wish we could make them do something about it. The funny thing is that it’s easy to shelve that logic when it comes to ourselves. We accept second best either because we are too busy, too distracted or simply can’t be bothered. That’s how 10 years can pass without much changing apart from you becoming less confident that you have what it takes to get the things you want out of your life.

Being complacent may be comfortable, but it doesn’t necessarily make it good enough. If you do want to either join the Fire Service or get a promotion next year then you have some decisions to make. Is your desire for a better job, improved prospects and greater rewards enough to make you get up and do something about it? Or are your distractions more important? Even if it doesn’t look like there is much you can do (‘there are no promotion opportunities’, ‘they aren’t recruiting’) you are wrong; there is PLENTY you can be doing in advance while you wait for your opportunity. That way, when it does arrive, you will be ready to capitalise on it. Your answers here may indicate that you do have plenty of drive; it’s up to you whether you are ready to start focusing it in 2014.

Mostly ‘no’

Your answers could suggest that you are quite happy where you are now. if that’s the case you have a lot to be proud of. The only question you may want to ask yourself is if you are happy because you have achieved everything you want, or whether it’s just because you don’t really know what you want- two very different things!

Finding yourself satisfied at work is an enviable position to be in. Whether it was over the last 12 months or earlier, at some point you took the steps you needed to reach your goals and this has paid off. You may find that over the next year or so things change again, because people who are motivated to succeed can often find new goals quite alluring once the first ones have been accomplished! But chances are you have the ability to pull this off, even if it’s not entirely clear where to go next at the moment.

And for those of you not sure where to turn next? It’s not surprising. It seems strange that at school we are taught all sorts of skills we will never need (and probably don’t remember) but there’s no real guidance on how to mould lifestyles into a shape that fits. it’s simply accepted that we will fall into a job, a home, relationships without really giving it much thought. Do a 5 minute internal ‘review’ next time you walk the dog or wait in a queue. Think about what areas of your life you are happy with, which ones you might want to change. It might help you to know if you are on track or not.

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