Assess where you are to help you get where you want to go.

The start of the new year is a time when people often take an honest look at their lives and vow to make positive changes. Like many professionals, you may be focusing on your career and considering how to move it forward in the year ahead.

Does that mean pursuing an employment opportunity at another company? Choosing a new specialty area? Staying put at your current company? How can you determine the right choice for you?

When standing at a career crossroads, you need to give careful thought to the consequences of your actions. Take into account your unique situation and the potential benefits of making — or not making — a change. Following are some questions to consider during this process:

What motivates you? Think about what you like most about your current job. Reflect upon the highlights of your career. You may discover a pattern in your top selections. Take note of the factors that are most important to you and then consider whether they are available at your present employer. Sometimes small changes, such as volunteering for more diverse assignments, can make all the difference in job satisfaction.

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