If you want to reboot your career and get results, you need to start a career journal that will allow you to review those "old contracts" with yourself.

They help you realize that those “contracts” are just expectations you set for yourself when you were younger and enable you to evaluate them to see if they still hold up these days.

Begin by thinking about your earliest memories and feelings surrounding the word “work”. Are they happy? Sad? Confused? What images does it conjure up?

We first learn about the world of work from our parents. Did they come home from work happy? Energetic? Tired?
Angry? Did your folks complain about their boss or co-workers?

Or were they always excited about whatever project they were working on?

For the longest time, my father did nothing but bitch and moan about “his job”… the problems he was having with “the
Business” … blaming everything on the doctors.

(The business was a surgical supply store that dealt with foot traffic customers, hospitals, and physicians.)
Now for the surprising part: he owned the company. The man just loved to complain about everything, and yet, did nothing to change his reality!

Sadly, as brilliant a man as he was (he had something like four degrees including a doctorate and law degree), he did NOT realize that he had all the control to change
the way he reacted to a business HE owned!

My father, unfortunately, had mental health problems and was a bully to his staff who he continually hired and fired over the years.**

(** My siblings and I worked in the family business over the years. We soon came to the realization that vacationing in hell while getting a colonoscopy without anesthesia was more desirable.**)

Your first assumptions about work were formed by watching your parents.

At eleven years of age, I was savvy enough to know that entering my father’s business would shorten my life span. But what about you? What were your expectations as a child?

And if you’re wondering what you should write in your journal in regards to your career reinvention, how about this?

Just write about what the word ‘work’ meant to you as you were first learning about its meaning.

• Think about any milestones you’ve had regarding your thoughts about work.
• Think about your first job, then the expectations about your future working life that you had while in high school, then your first job after college.

Alright, then. Now click your ruby slippers together and then whisk yourself ahead to the present day. So, what have you got? How have your expectations changed between then and now? What were you promised that did or did not happen? What were you expected to be once you graduated from college? (Your expectations and other’s expectations for you.)

Take Inventory… Where is Your Career Right Now?

Once you’ve gathered your old thoughts about work, you should evaluate where you are now. In your career journal, write down exactly what you like, what you don’t like, and what needs fixing.

Think about:

❚ The state of your industry. Is it booming, or experiencing layoffs? (Yes, I know this
is a loaded question.)
❚ Your job duties. Are they what you planned? Do they fulfill your personal
contracts? Do they offer variety and fulfillment? Why, or why not?
❚ Your salary. Is it in line with your original expectations?
❚ Your benefits, insurance, and other “perks”. We often forget about these when
evaluating our current level of success, but they are extremely important.
❚ Your work relationships.
❚ Your boss. (Nice person, or a complete jerk? Or both?)

Be Honest — Where is Your Industry Heading?

As important as knowing your feelings about work and your current job are, they’re only one small piece of the overall career pie we are baking. Another key ingredient is the state of your industry. Look at the trends within this market place and honestly assess it.

• Is your industry on the way up — or on the way down? (And does it need to reposition or reinvent itself?)
• Is it growing, or experiencing massive layoffs?
• Are your friends and colleagues in the industry getting promotions, or canned while their old jobs get sent to India?
• Are they “bitching and moaning” about their situation?

What is the secret to getting the answers you so urgently need? Simple, watch the news and read trade magazines and newspapers for stories about your industry, no matter how negative it is.

Like an eagle scout, be on the lookout for downsizing and the like, and how the stock market is doing. Talk to your friends, family, and work colleagues to see what they’ve heard. Keep your ear to the tracks, so you can hear the train coming and it doesn’t run you over!
The beauty of all this bird dogging is these resources can help you get a handle on where your company and industry are now, and where they’re headed in the future.

That Is Happening Now… BUT What About Tomorrow?

Now that you’ve reassessed where your industry is right now, it’s time to start thinking about where it might be tomorrow. (Gulp!) As they say, “It’s time to really look at the handwriting on the wall!” It takes vision, the ability to look at something seemingly unimportant, to view its potential.

Walt Disney looked at thousands of acres of Florida swampland and saw a theme park. People refused to back him, saying things like, “No one will come to a swamp,” and “Orlando, a tourist destination?”

And “Why on earth are you going to freeze your head after you’re dead?” (Urban myth has it that Walt cryogenically had his body frozen after his death.)

Assess Yourself
Today, millions of people a year visit Disney’s five theme parks as their attraction filled tourist destination. Through good times and bad, they stand on-line for hours on end with screaming kids just to experience “Walt’s dream” of over-priced parking and food!

Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Jobs predicted that one day computers would be in every home and set out to make that happen.

Reinvention Guy’s Take-Away Tip: Okay, you can relax. You don’t have to be Walt or Bill. However, to experience growth within your field you should look around at
things going on in and around your industry to see how it will be impacted.

Owning this inside knowledge of your career can help you figure out what to change. And just as importantly, reveal a few aspects of your current position that aren’t so dreadful after all.

Maybe you’ve got a great 401(k) plan, or full use of the local country club. Just make sure that as you’re “rebooting”, you don’t let go of some of those niceties you’ve come to rely on in your current job.

Evaluating where you are right now will also help you determine if there is anything you don’t want more of, like working on weekends and holidays, or less-than desirable job duties. Figure out what you don’t want, and you’ll be that much closer
to figuring out what you do want.

In Review

To assess your career:

❚ Review your mental contracts.
❚ Start a career journal that can keep you on track for your short-term and longterm
❚ Review where your career and industry are now and where it will be in the future.

Let me ask you something. If you were in your boss’s proverbial shoes, knowing what you know about yourself, would you honestly hire you based on your
personal “brand”? “What?” you think, “Now I am a brand like Coke?”

Well, the next chapter answers that question. Go on, turn the page to discover how YOUR brand is going to help you leap over the competition into your boss’s consciousness!

Author's Bio: 

The above article is an excerpt from Peter “The Reinvention Guy” Fogel's book, "Reboot Your Career: 27 Ways to Reinvent Yourself in The Workplace (IF You Still Have a Job) The author is a NSA Speaker and the nation's leading Reinvention Expert and Pres. of Fortune 500 Comedy Communciations.

Prior to his present career Peter worked on many TV shows, including Married With Children, Hope and Faith, and Whoopi. He transitioned from a successful stand-up comic to an in-demand business speaker, internet marketer, and advertising copywriter/problem solver.

He’s also the author of the critically acclaimed book If Not Now… Then When?, Stories and Strategies of People Over 40 Who Have Successfully Reinvented Themselves.

For more information on his book and to sign up for his FREE Reinvent This Ezine and get his 4-in-1 Total Success Reinvention Package (a $75 value). Go to http://www.rebootyourcareernow.com
For Public Speaking, please sign up for Peter's FREE 7 Days to MORE Effective Public Speaking E-course ($125) and get FREE Mp3 downloads at www.publicspeaklikeapro.com