AS a new year begins, many people take stock of their career progress to date and where they are headed.

Some might have achieved their career goals and have been rewarded appropriately while others might regretfully feel that they have put in much but have not been recognised.

It is often this momentary pause at the career crossroads that prompts people to make New Year resolutions.

These resolutions, unsurprisingly, will be reactive and won’t address the real causes of a flagging career or the actions necessary for career advancement.

There are common reasons why you may be feeling dissatisfied with your career:

1. Changing aspirations

Career challenges and setbacks involve not only workplace issues but also issues related to your social or private life as well as your aspirations, which change according to the stage of life you are in.

For example, what may have been important in your early 30s may no longer be relevant when you are in your 40s.

Your focus may now be on your children’s educational advancement rather than your own career advancement.

Do you just keep the pace at work? Or do you let your entrepreneurial streak take over and become an independent consultant?

As life circumstances and situations change, so do your aspirations and career goals.

2. Being overtaken

If your subordinate has been promoted to become your boss, do you — in your disappointment, shock and anger — just pack up and leave?

That may be a myopic view. You may have been sidelined but you can still offer value as a specialist within the organisation.

Career advancement should not be entirely equated with promotions, salary increases and bigger bonuses. Sometimes you need to look at career satisfaction and happiness.

While you may be tempted to throw in the towel, it may be to your advantage to calm down and explore your options — either with another department in the same organisation or with a new employer. The way to move forward is to decide what you really want in life and in your career.

3. Chanced opportunity

Career analysts have found that more than half of mid-career professionals believe a chanced opportunity will play a significant role in their ultimate career path.

Therefore, they try to stay open to possibilities and the unexpected “chanced opportunity”.

Unfortunately, this opportunity does not arrive with a label to identify it as one. Chanced opportunity can only be identified if you are able to recognise it.

Whether you are actively on the lookout for something better to come your way, or are merely hoping that something is going to drop into your lap, you are likely to be less focused — and less productive — in your current job.

Take some time off to think

Whether your aspirations have changed or you have been overtaken at work or you are waiting for that chanced opportunity or experiencing work-related conflicts at home, it may be useful to take some time off to go on a career retreat.

You can take your family or loved ones along with you as you explore and discover your career options — after all, they will need to fit in with your plans.

You will then be able to capture their moods, feelings and emotions about how they feel about your career shift or move.

Sometimes, going on a career retreat can help you to discover a completely new career path.

Others experience a renewal in their current job and return determined to work harder and more diligently.

Even corporations and organisations can benefit by adding a mini-career retreat within their training workshops.

Going on a career retreat can help you search for options that will help you achieve a better balance between work and family life, if that is a main cause of dissatisfaction at work.

If your children and spouse are with you, they will have a better understanding of the challenges you may be facing at work.

Another benefit of the career retreat is that offers you a time to re-strategise, re-think priorities and find new directions in your life and work.

Research shows that those who express the most satisfaction with their lives and careers tend to have a holistic view of themselves. They are capable, team-oriented people at work, and culturally and spiritually connected people at home and in the community.