How To Get Your Career Back On Track

Questions and simple exercises that will guide you back to the career that's right for you.

Questions to ask yourself to get your career back on track cokada, Nicola Katie | Canva

The actual power and assumption of this article is that your responses will focus your start on who you are. They will help you hear and be inspired by your authentic self. That’s where you have the most accessible choices and if not control, at least influence. Being clearer about yourself as a catalyst provides a safe and accurate foundation for effective action.

RELATED: The Best Career Move I Ever Made Was 5 Steps Backward On The Corporate Ladder


How to get your career back on track

Focus inside first

By focusing inside first, you’ll avoid reacting to the often misleading carousel of continual external changes. Your confidence will be buoyed by your clarity and focus on yourself. In other words, the answers are mostly within you.

Questioning woman imagines getting her career back on track Wayhome Studio via Shutterstock


In my experience with over 2000 clients with a range of ages and backgrounds over the years, I have found that our collaboration with integrating information is basic for authentic, viable choices. This includes values, transferable skills, subjects/ issues, and preferred people to work with. If you haven’t already clarified at least these four aspects, here is a quick process for capturing them. Even revisiting them now will likely take you forward to a clearer path.

RELATED: 3-Step Method For Figuring Out What Job Is Actually Going To Make You Happy

Try this exercise to get you started

  • List the top 3-5 values that come to mind. (Examples are being creative, authentic, successful, and self-sufficient.)
  • List your top five transferable skills that you enjoy using. (Examples of such processes are: motivating, making deals, and counseling.)
  • What 5-6 issues or topics do you never tire of addressing or learning about? (Examples are: urban planning, psychology, and machine learning.)
  • Who are the people you’d prefer as colleagues or clients? (Examples are: educated people, immigrants, and artists)

Taking time to visualize a range of different possibilities related to your choices can be more productive than going to what’s familiar or comfortable for yourself. That could take you to particular venues or situations such as collaborative groups, a for-profit business, or a foundation, for example.

RELATED: 5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Committing To A New Job — Even If You Really Want It


Test your ideas

One way is a mutual exchange conversation with a friend or colleague in a similar search situation. That could help you hear yourself for both feedback and self-correction. Record it to capture insights, emotion, and tone of voice. Or see what you find that’s similar online.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What two to four specific topics or issues seem relevant and valuable for the foreseeable future? How would you imagine yourself engaging with one of them?
  2. What situations would keep you willing to risk?
  3. What would you want to continue getting better at doing and why?
  4. How could you make a difference that has meaning to you and others you will influence?
  5. How do you define success?

This guidance to start within does not encourage you to focus only on yourself. Much insight will occur as you re-visit your choices over time as well as what you glean from your relationships, the effective and regretted ones. Jotting down brief notes may serve as catharsis, clearing away the overtaken past to make room for a more authentic adventuresome future.

RELATED: 15 Career Hacks That Help You Get What You Want In Life, Too


Ruth Schimel Ph.D. is a career and life management consultant and author of the Choose Courage series. She guides clients in accessing their strengths and making viable visions for current and future work and life situations.