It’s time for your year-end career review

Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash
Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

Now, we’ve come to the end of another year. Time for some deep reflections. We’ve had high hopes in the beginning. We wished to achieve so much. We wanted to make incredible moves in our different career paths.

Usually, every new year, people develop whether just mentally or through a written document, a career plan. Which is a statement of where you are now; where you want to be at a defined point in the future and the key steps along that career path. Which should be realistic and workable.

As with all other plans, there has to be defined periods and stages for reviews. Where we pause, and look back to see if we’re still on track or need to make urgent changes. So end-of-the-year reviews help us to see if we’ve succeeded.

Why reviews?

One may ask, “why even bother to do any reviews?” or “how is that going to change anything?” These in themselves are legitimate questions. It is befitting to answer them with great caution. On the other hand, I wish to bring in questions that’ll deepen our understanding.

Firstly, isn’t it true that all of us want to have a sense of achievement? We don’t just want to be preoccupied with a lot of things, resulting in nothing of importance. Put another way, don’t we all want to have a sense of professional development in our careers?

Two, don’t we naturally want to have a sense of firm-footedness? I suppose we all want to feel like we’re solid. That we’re onto something. As opposed to just floating through the economic turbulence.

Thirdly, isn’t it true that we all want to have a sense of direction? That is, we all want to feel like we’re moving towards something. After all, life of mediocrity isn’t what any of us, wakes up for every morning. We all want to move forward.

Lastly, isn’t it true that we all want to represent something? We all want to stand for an ideal. These and many more, capture the essence of what career reviews are as well as why they matter. So now let’s get to it. Keep in mind that personal career planning strongly increases both your immediate prospects and your long-term potential.

Questions to ponder for your year-end career review

1Impact and accomplishments

What are the outstanding and/or remarkable accomplishments? Take note of both personal and professional highlights. Consider times when you felt you were at your best. Best in execution of plans and impacting lives.

Fix your eyes on those moments when you felt like an achiever in what you were doing. Contemplate on those resources that came into play to marking those great moments. Look for trends. Then try and quantify the findings in terms of: whether you maximized your efficiency; generated more income; helped a given number of people etc.

Always get back to the SMART aspect of career planning. For the ‘S’ for specific goals, did you achieve any? If yes, how? If not, why? These will help make proper next year propositions.

2Learning and risk-taking

Think of those moments when you moved out of your comfort zone. Those moments when you tried something new. In particular, recall those moments when you mostly failed. When you found out that you were not as competent. This is because growth involves some failings and accomplishments worth celebrating.

Career success involves a fair amount of inevitable setbacks or missteps. So risking is vital. Or more positively, experimentation is important if we’re to succeed personally and professionally.

A great deal of learning comes through failing. Fearful pursuits will lead to no growth at all. Avoid self-accusations at all costs. These were moments of learning, when you discovered that certain skills were needed which you didn’t have at the moment.

3Personal and professional development

How have you grown? What things are you going to pursue differently for the upcoming year?

At this stage, what shifts do you feel are necessary? Being the person you’ve become, how do you plan to improve next year? What skills are worth your acquisition?

4People and Relationships

Now consider your networks. As it were, Only Quality People should be found in your pack. People who’ve helped you realize your goals. Those that challenged you and made you a better you. You may have to remain with some and reconsider others.

Networking is very important in our world today. Consider supporters, role models and or mentors. Revitalise your relationships. Make them ready for next year.


If you want progression and better earnings, waiting and hoping is rarely a winning strategy. Accept ownership and take control of your career. Career planning will then be an active process through which you manage your progress during the journey to your goal.

There are three distinct stages: personal assessment; documenting your career path intentions, and actively monitoring and managing your progress.


Teboho Polanka
Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.