Home > Personal Finance > 3 Steps to Become Happier in Your Career

Comments 0 Comments

With the year being still relatively new, this is as good a time as any to make a plan for how you will improve your career by the end of 2013. Think about it — when New Year’s Eve rolls around next December and people are discussing whether this year was a good or bad year, how do you hope to feel about where you are in your career?

If you want anything to be different that night than it is right now, let’s look at some ways you can make it happen.

1. More Pay or Different Job

Would you like to earn more money? That’s a silly question — of course everyone wants to make more money, right?

But this is actually an insightful question, and here’s why: Some people feel their compensation from their current job is lower than it should be. If that is true for you, then your goal should be to take the steps necessary to convince your employer to increase your compensation to a fair level by the end of the year. To do that, you’ll need to:

  • Figure out how you can show your employer the value you provide to the organization. This might require you to create a presentation showing all the things you’ve accomplished and/or all the daily tasks you do to keep your office running smoothly. This may be especially necessary if your job duties are more intangible, or if you have a boss that doesn’t pay attention to the good things you do.
  • Take time outside of work to learn good negotiation techniques. A quick Google search of the phrase “negotiate a raise” will give you plenty of tips to work with. Above all, remember to put yourself in your boss’ shoes and understand what he or she wants to see from you and what type of arguments will be persuasive to him or her.
  • Schedule a time with your boss or compensation director; when you go in to the meeting, stay calm and relaxed, look down at your prepared notes if you need to, and be confident in the fact that you provide real value to your organization.

What happens if you do all of the above and you still don’t get a raise — or if you’ve already tried the above steps? Depending on how confident you are in your ability and how much you like your current job, it might make sense to look for a new job (see below for more on this).

On the other hand, if you feel your current job’s compensation is fair but you still want to make more money, there are some great options for you, too! One way is to add new skills to your repertoire…

2. New Skills and More Confidence

If your goal is to boost your career this year, then it makes sense to add new skills that make you even more valuable to your company or that open up other opportunities for you. These skills might be very specific to your industry (such as a certification or training program) or very broad (such as improving your writing or typing ability). If there is a training program applicable to your job, your employer might even pay for it!

As for learning new skills outside of work, most of the time, it helps to think about what you enjoy doing — in other words focus your energy on things you have a real interest in because your passion will drive you much further to master these new skills than anything else.

The Internet has become such a driver of commerce that building skills to help companies hone their online presence can be financially rewarding. You can learn copywriting, learn how to build websites, become an expert in SEO, start working as a virtual assistant, or get really good at WordPress. The great thing about any of these skills is that you can do them part time for a bit of extra income.

And these days, there are plenty of ways to find freelance opportunities online. Which brings us to…

3. Career Refresh Time

Now we’re finally at the crossroads question. Are you happy with your career? If so, congrats! If not, then maybe this is the time to make a career transition. Would you like to look back on December 31st, and know that you took the first steps to finding a career that fulfills you? If you think carefully and understand how to know when to quit your job, you’ll do great.

How to Make the Transition

There are a few things you need to do in order to be prepared to switch careers. First, you’ll want to get your finances in order as much as possible. It will help to have a strong financial foundation to build your new career upon. If you have debt, try to get it paid off as quickly as possible. Or if you must leave your steady job before you’re debt free, then you will have to work with your creditors to come up with a strategy to deal with your debt while unemployed.

Second, you will want to reach out to some people who are already employed in the type of job you are hoping to get. If you can develop friendships — or at least acquaintances — with them, you will have an insider’s perspective on how to get those jobs. If you’re lucky, you may even get a mentor who can help you get hired when you’re ready.

Third, you will need to develop your skills as discussed above. Identifying the particular capabilities that hiring managers will be looking for is key to being able to get your dream job. If you prepare and show that despite coming from a different industry you know what the new job requires, you can definitely convince your new employer to give you a chance.

If your dream career involves working for yourself, then that’s one less hurdle you need to clear. But you will still need to find clients (as a freelancer) or find customers (as a small business owner) or find patrons (as an artist or chef). In this, the Internet will be invaluable. Sites like Elance and Odesk make it easy to find freelance jobs.

No matter what path you choose, keep your head up and remember that it may take some time to get where you want to be. There will be serious challenges along the way, but you can and will overcome them. And hopefully by the end of the year you’ll be well on your way toward a more satisfying and/or lucrative career.

Image: Creatas

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team