Careers – August 2012


Checking under the hood
What is broken?

"You can expect what you inspect.” – W. Edwards Deming

This month’s issue recognizes the best doctors in our region and it got me thinking that this is a great time of year for your check-up – your career check-up, that is. While it is good to look at what is working in your career, it is also important to know what is not working by “checking under the hood”. Once you identify what isn’t working you can prioritize by importance to you, and then focus and work on these.

It is important to understand, accept and work to fix what is broken in your career or life and do so before you begin a career or job change journey. Not doing so can derail your efforts. It could be that…

  • You are not satisfied in what you do and this is negatively affecting your home life and/or relationship …
  • You don’t have the energy in your job or career that you once had
  • You have grown apart from your company
  • You have grown apart from your industry
  • Your industry is not growing
  • Your values have changed
  • Your career or job does not align with your changed values
  • Your interests are changing
  • You are not happy
  • You feel you can do more
  • You want to make more money
  • You don’t need to make as much money (common in the later years when needs change)

… and the list can go on.

It is time to make a list of those things that you feel are broken in your life and/or career – because they are so intertwined. And you need to be brutally honest which may be painful. You may also need to get the feedback from a trusted advisory, spouse or significant other. They may see things that are broken in you that you do not see.

Let’s create the “Things to Fix” list
It’s like having the “honey do” list for around the house – those things that are broken and need to be fixed. Please take out a piece of paper and write at the top: My Do List: What is Broken
Then, in no rank or priority, start writing down what you or others see as broken in your career and/or life that you can control and change. Writing down that “The economy Sucks” won’t have any value to you and will be a wasted thought. You can’t singlehandedly change it unless you aspire to the Oval Office, and then many still wonder! However, writing down “Be in a role where I can help others and give back” is something you can control and focus on.

Now like any coach would recommend, you need to prioritize the list by a very simple ranking system:


  • A: Must be fixed as it is something that will not allow you to move forward. Examples of this would be health, impending financial disruption in life, broken relationship, addiction, etc.
  • B: Critical, but not inhibiting you from moving forward. Important, however, to achieve your plan. Examples of this would be dissolving industry, poor relationship with your current management, poor or marginal performance in your own business, pressure at home, pressure from others you respect, etc.
  • C: Important, but not critical. This would include things such as need to update resume, improve networking if you have not been networking, commute, salary issues (unless you are facing an A – financial disruption), etc. They are important, but they can wait until the other broken issues are resolved.

So, now your list is written down. Next, and most important, you need to prioritize each issue you prioritized as an “A” numerically with 1 being the most critical and important and going down from there: 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. Once you’re finished with the A’s move onto the B’s and C’s.

You have now identified the top three or more critical issues to fix as part of this journey. Keep your list up to date, keep it in view always. Share it with those close to you.

It is not rocket science – it is just the basics and I hope that this process gives you more focus and of course, clarity, so you can move forward and achieve what you want to achieve!

Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie. You can reach him at 641.8968 or or visit


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