Make Yourself Accountable

When it comes to building a career, the buck stops with you. Here's how to reap the rewards by taking responsibility.

if they are given a chance to periodically take time off to focus on personal priorities.

As a result, sabbaticals are becoming popular. They allow employees time to reflect on their careers and the overall operation of the business, away from the daily pressures of the office. With a three-, six-, or 12-month leave, employees get a break from job stress, and employers get workers who return refreshed and ready to go.

Strike a Balance: Work vs. Personal Life
Do you frequently have lunch on the run, or at your desk? Are you “dropping by” the office for a few hours on the weekend? Do family and friends complain that they never see you? Many workers forsake their personal life and, then, shift into overdrive at the office, says Val Arnold, senior vice president of Personnel Decisions, a human resources consulting firm in Minneapolis. Ask yourself the following questions to see if you “have a life.” If you don’t, then try to reclaim it.

Are you focused? Does your task contribute to a major organizational or personal goal? If you can’t answer these questions, then you’re not clear on what projects are important and worth your effort. Take a break and get back on course.

Does time escape you? You look up at the clock and find that you’re late for dinner or your child’s school play — again! Your workload is making decisions about your life. Instead, you should be setting the boundaries for your work. Establish clear limits on the amount of time you’ll devote to a project, and stay within those limits.

Do you talk about work 24/7? If your off-hour conversations revolve around the office, you’ve lost your perspective. There is more to life than work.

Do responsibilities overwhelm you? You may be at the wrong company or, even worse, in the wrong job.

Are your relationships fulfilling? Heed the cries of your friends and family when they say they never see you anymore. These are sacrifices you shouldn’t have to make.

Why am I here? Humans are inherently spiritual creatures, yet many of us are so consumed by our jobs that spirituality takes a back seat. Stop, look, and find the soul inside you again.

How do you know when it’s time to make a change? James C. Gonyea offers 10 common road signs to help evaluate your feelings or ongoing situation:
1] Bored and unchallenged
2] Demeaned and dehumanized
3] Given assignments well beyond your capabilities
4] An outcast with no bridge to co-workers
5] Burned out from emotionally exhausting work
6] Seriously and consistently underpaid
7] Extensively overqualified
8] Unrecognized or unrewarded for your labor
9] Expectations, from your boss, that are unrealistic or overly demanding
10] Little room for personal or professional growth

If most of these points apply to you, a change may be in order.

On Becoming a Boss
Promotions are great, but they can be difficult when you’re faced with managing individuals who are friends. There are ways to make the transition easier. Val Arnold, senior vice president of executive consulting services for Personnel Decisions International, a Minneapolis-based human resources

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