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One Year on the Job: Looking Back and Assessing How the First 12 Months have Gone

Tags:  Career strategies, Life after college

Wow! Can you believe it? You've been working at your first job for a year now. Seems like it was only yesterday when you were assessing where you wanted to take your career, now you need to assess where your career has taken you.

The reason for reviewing how far you have come during your first year on the job is to gain a sense of whether or not you are moving in the right direction or if you have sailed off course. It makes no sense to continue going in the same direction if it no longer suits your needs or it is no longer appropriate.

What Have You Learned?

One of the first things you should consider when assessing your performance during the first year is the difference between what you didn't know before starting on your new job and what you know now. If you haven't learned anything new, then you've just wasted 12 months of your life.

It doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering. In fact a couple of new software programs along with a new operational method or two are fine. However, you need to be able to look at the past year and see that your have grown personally and/or professionally.

Hopefully you took the time to define where you wanted to be by the end of your first year – new skills you wanted to develop or training programs you wanted to complete. Now is the time to ask yourself if you have reached these goals.

How Are You Performing?

You've had 12 months to learn how to do your job. At the beginning many things might have been unknown to you so each step or action took time for you to learn and perform.

If you are performing at your best, you should be able to do many of your tasks accurately and without assistance. There still might be a few that take you more time and require more effort. And if you've added new responsibilities, you still may be learning these. However, for the most part, you should feel comfortable in your job and be performing well. If you are not, now is the time to ask yourself – and your supervisor – what you need to do differently.

Where Do You Need to Improve?

Everyone can always improve on one thing or another, whether this includes skills, abilities, or knowledge. So now is the time for you to consider what you will work on over the next 12 months.

If the responsibilities that have been assigned to you have become routine, you may want to consider asking to take on new challenges. Or if you did not complete all the goals you set out to accomplish during your first year on the job, make sure to reassess their continuing importance and add or delete them from your list of goals. Finally, make sure to have a conversation with your immediate supervisor to get feedback regarding his or her opinion of your performance over the past year and the areas that he or she feels you need to work on.

The whole idea about your first year on the job is to begin moving your career in the right direction by learning your responsibilities as well as defining what other opportunities might be available to help you with your career goals. Don't sit back and wait for something to happen, take time to analyze all that has taken place over the last year and make sure it fits with your plans.


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