Article by Matthias Schulmeister


Checklist: Reflecting at the turn of the year

Christmas is just around the corner, New Year's Eve is approaching, contemplation and calm are in the air: The year 2023 is slowly but surely drawing to a close. It's time to pause, reflect and look back on the past year - not only personally, but also professionally. In this article we show you why self-reflection can be useful for your career. We also give you a small checklist with the 10 most relevant questions that will help you optimise your professional situation and decide for or against a job change.


Why is self-reflection so important?

Those who engage in self-reflection take a close look at their own actions, habits, thoughts, goals and desires. Through this pointing out and questioning, self-knowledge is to emerge, whereby behavioural patterns that stand in the way of one's own happiness are to be reduced. Especially in professional terms, there is often potential for improvement that lies in one's own hands but is not exploited due to a lack of awareness of one's own needs. If we now reflect on a job-related basis, two essential cornerstones emerge: 

  • One recognises in which direction one would like to develop and can take steps accordingly - be it a resignation with a subsequent job change or a promotion with the current employer, further training or a salary increase - there are no limits here. 

  • You realise which direction it should not go. With the realisation that things are going in the wrong direction in the current job, one is faced with the decision to raise the issue with one's employer and change it, or to ask oneself whether it is time for a new professional challenge. 

Self-reflection applied specifically to the past year brings your current situation to your attention and gives you the opportunity to shape the new year in the way that will be most successful for you. In order for you to be able to proceed in the most structured way possible, we have created a checklist with 10 questions that you should ask yourself in the course of reflecting. 

These are the 5 questions you should ask about the past year

1. What was my greatest success? 

Identifying your greatest success not only reveals where your strengths and talents lie and how they are used in your job. It also shows what you define as success and what is most important to you personally in your job: is your focus more on bonuses, promotions, completed projects or colleague cohesion?) If you decide to change jobs, this knowledge about yourself will of course help you to find the right job for you. 

2. What was my biggest challenge? 

This question helps you to identify which tasks are difficult for you in your job and whether you see them as an exciting challenge or as a burden that you can do without. 

3. Which projects/tasks did I particularly enjoy? 

Do you immediately think of several answers to this question? That is a very good sign and weighs in favour of your job. You think about it and think about it, but you can't name a job ad hoc? Then it might be a good idea to look through other job advertisements and see if the tasks there sound more interesting. 

4. What factor has bothered me the most this year?  

Too much overtime? Too little personal responsibility? Or an interpersonal problem with a new colleague? Wherever the disturbing factor lies, it is important to weigh up whether the problem can be easily changed - for example, by talking to the superior - or whether this is a knock-out criterion that makes a change of job seem attractive. 

5. Did I like going to work on Mondays? 

If you are one of those people who put the fun of the job before the salary factor, then this point is certainly the most essential for finding your professional path. Nothing speaks more clearly for a job change than a clear "no" to this question.

Now that you have reflected on the past year with the help of these 5 questions, you may already have an idea of where you want to go. Before you burn all bridges and hand in your notice, you should take a prognostic look at the coming year and ask yourself the following 5 questions.

These are the 5 questions you should ask for the new year

1. Are there any open goals that I would still like to achieve at my current employer? 

Before you leave the boat, you should ask yourself whether there are still tasks or projects you would like to be involved in. After all, you know the company you are currently working for, whereas after a job change you first have to be trained in the processes of the new employer.  

2. Am I where I want to be in terms of salary? 

Enjoying your work is important and should not be underestimated - but at the end of the day, you do your job for the money. At the end of the month, you should have a reasonable amount on your pay slip. Of course, you can always get more - but it's important to know if you're being paid fairly. With the kununu salary check, you can test this out and find out whether you can ask for more pay in the next appraisal interview and whether another employer would pay you better. 

3. Do I want to develop further and is that possible in my current job?  

This question is aimed at possible promotions and opportunities for advancement. In smaller companies, hierarchies are often flat and promotion opportunities are usually limited. If you work in such a company, you should ask yourself how important the factor of a steep career path is to you. 

4. What am I missing in my current job or what advantages could a new job bring? 

This is about concrete benefits like flexible working hours or home office that you miss in your job and that would improve your work-life balance. Most employers offer a lot of benefits nowadays, as there is a shortage of applicants in the market and new employees are hot commodities. You are sure to find new offers that meet your needs should you decide to change jobs. 

5. Would I miss my current job? 

The sentimental question at the end of the year. Similar to question #5, it sums up your overall satisfaction and attachment to your job. Here you should listen to your gut feeling and imagine what it would be like to actually not come to your familiar environment every morning in the new year.  

New year, new opportunities



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Let 2024 be the year of your career!

With the help of our 10 questions for self-reflection, you'll be a lot closer to deciding what you want to do with your career. 

Have you decided to try something new and change jobs? Then take a look at our current job advertisements. We are also happy to support your career with a general consultation!