Before the pandemic, many of us had “normal” work lives that involved working 9 to 5 and commuting back and forth. For many, their work occupies between 8 to 10 or even 12 hours a day! But then the lockdowns hit, leaving us stranded at home, with plenty of time to reflect on our lives, relationships, sexualities, gender expressions and jobs, and whether or not our careers made us happy. Using your downtime to study your career, how important it is for you and how you can make it better is crucial for happiness and satisfaction. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when reflecting on your career:

Are you happy at your job?

It’s very easy to get caught in the machine and just wake up, go to work, come back, watch some TV and hit the bed. This routine can fill your day nicely, and you might not even remember to ask yourself whether you’re satisfied with your job. Give a number to your career satisfaction between 1 and 10. Did you put lower than 7? Well, it might be time to consider the ways you can change a few things. 

What do you like about your job and what do you not like? Are there any changes possible that would allow you to enjoy your job more? Is your job now taking you closer to achieving your job goals? 

Do you use your skills every day?

The pandemic forced many of us into job roles that don’t really match our skills. For instance, some of us have been brought onto task forces, other have been assigned to assist with certain tasks that are not usually a part of their jobs. Employees today have a lot more autonomy than before, so they can develop new skills. Do you have any particular skills that are not being used? Can you add new skills to your current job or do you need to find a new job that will allow you to use your skills? 

Do you need improvement in your skills?

It’s important to be realistic and objective. Many of us have a skill set that is often not diverse enough for certain jobs. Ask yourself about your existing skills, identify skill gaps and see how you can fill them in the future. Maybe there are some jobs that you’ve always dreamed of, but you don’t have the skills to be a legitimate candidate for them? Can you get those skills and knowledge easily? Luckily, gaining new skills today is very easy. There are great courses and opportunities to learn new skills and even get certification as proof. For instance, you can sign up for an apprenticeship at 1300Apprentice and finally get some formal knowledge on everything from carpentry to electro technology, engineering, landscaping and plumbing. If you’re a dedicated worker willing to push forward in their career, with your passion and a touch of formal training, you can enjoy a whole new career path. 

What kind of employer do you want?

Let’s study your employer for a second. How your employer advertises their brand, especially in a time of crisis? During the pandemic, you might have seen them make many decisions concerning the virus. Did you agree with their internal and external response? Do you maybe agree with some other employer’s actins more? Do you want to work for someone with more purpose and with values closer to yours? Do you want to have more LGBT colleagues who can understand where you’re coming from better? 

What is your dream job?

Let’s forget about your current job and focus on your dreams. What is your dream job? What is something you would like to do in a perfect world and what kind of company would you like to be a part of? Imagine your perfect workday and see what it includes. Maybe you want to work from home and be close to your partner and your pets or maybe you prefer flexible work hours. Consider everything! 

Why do you want your dream job?

Besides better paycheck and better time management (which is something we all dream about), name a few things that attract you to your dream job. Study your core values and see whether they fit into your current company. Of course you might want to work for a company that respects and values all talent no matter their sexual orientation, gender expression, race, look, etc. Maybe you also want to leave a more serious mark on the world, which is something you can only do through your dream work position. See how you can work towards finding a dream job, adapting to it and acquiring it for yourself. But you can also make a few changes and turn your existing job into your dream job. 

For many, thinking about their careers is not a pleasant experience, but it’s necessary for your future goals, stability and happiness. Use these questions to reflect on your job, see how you can make it better for you and other LGBTQ+ people and how you can push your professional life forward.