Career goals aren’t always about money and position. They’re often milestones you want to accomplish for yourself as you progress through your chosen hospitality profession. Of course, a steady paycheck is a primary goal, but you can stretch beyond that. Don’t just settle for going through the paces toward the next promotion, move purposely toward what fulfills you and closer to what you ultimately want in your life.
Professional development not only helps you get ahead but also builds skills and helps you discover opportunities you might otherwise overlook. Hospitality offers a variety of certifications that are offered online and give you a taste of what else is “out there” for you.
Soft skills are crucial and highly valued in hospitality and can be enhanced with short courses that cater just to these traits: flexibility, problem-solving, teamwork, communication, and interpersonal skills. You will find that these skills are important as you consider moving into a leadership role, but also are essential in any job to improve your productivity and general satisfaction.
Going to conferences is another way to expand your perspective and learn new things. You’ll also meet others interested in the same things and create new connections in your field. You may experience a broader picture of what’s happening in the industry, what to expect, and find new ways to resolve commonly experienced problems. Online webinars are a convenient way to “attend” a conference and gain many of the same benefits.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance is also a key to satisfaction. Keep your eye on your shift schedules, the amount of overtime you’re accepting, and whether it’s giving you enough time to rest, spend time with family/friends, and recharge. Burnout can creep up on you and make your job seem unmanageable.
Feeling appreciated is near the top of the list on most job satisfaction surveys as well as good relationships with co-workers. Positive interpersonal relationships are an important part of your success at work. Although your manager doesn’t have to heap praise on you every time you accomplish a goal, a simple thank you and acknowledgment if a job well done goes a long way.
Workplace engagement means seeing how your job fits into the big picture of what you deem important and how you contribute to the overall success of the company. If your skills and experience are a good match for your job, you’ll feel engaged and committed to your own goals as well as those of the company. Feeling your work has meaning can be fostered by thinking about “why” you do it and not just “what” you do.
Opportunities for advancement show that you can grow into more responsibility in your future with this company. No one wants a dead-end job. You know that your goals for your career can be met as you learn and grow within your current role.
How you can shape your workplace experience:
- Tweak your duties to make them more gratifying. Maybe spend a little more time interacting with guests if that’s what you like more, and be more efficient with paperwork and filing. For example. Discover small things about your job that make you happy.
- Enjoy and encourage the social aspect of work. Take five minutes to chat with a co-worker and make a connection.
- Reframe the way you think about your work. Focus on how your job enhances a guest’s experience and makes their day. This may be the only time they visit your city or restaurant and you can make it memorable.
- Become a force for change. Can you contribute to making your workplace more diverse? Can you find a way to improve a process and make it more efficient? Introduce a monthly “lunch and learn” or a regular gathering with another department.
- Achieve a couple of goals every day. Break your goals down into manageable pieces that you can accomplish each day. Checking them off your list will give you a boost and make you feel successful at every shift.
Work can be a big part of your identity and offer insights into what is important to you. Personal goals are every bit as important in your career growth as promotions and a raise. Finding meaning and feeling accomplished is good for you personally as well as for the company.