Why It’s an Excellent Time to Try Touchy-Feely Career Standards

It was the night before my annual review (“Review Eve”), and I couldn’t sleep.

Burnout, Burnout Test, Career Coach, Career Transition, Career Standard

I was anxious.

I don’t know why.

I’d been busy every day.  It wasn’t like I was just sitting around.

I was one of the last ones out of the office almost every day.

Why couldn’t I tell if was doing a good job?

Why was I waiting until my year-end review so the boss would let me know?

When the morning of the review would come, I would leave the boss’ office totally crushed or end-up walking on air depending on the feedback.

I even made it personal.

And that’s a dangerous position to be in (not to mention an emotional roller coaster ride).

Your Own Personal Career Standard

You be may running around on someone else’s schedule, their set of priorities, and their standards (even more so if you’re the boss).

When you don’t have your own personal standard defined, it’s easy to get distracted by how you’re doing against everyone else’s standard (and not your own).

When you start setting your own career standards, you’ll find:

  • Less professional and personal stress
  • Less likelihood of burnout
  • Increased happiness and fulfillment in your job
  • Greater passion about your work
  • More excitement in getting your day started

Career Standards Revealed

At work, measuring against standard is engrained.

You probably have a litany of standards you’re measured against in the office like savings, productivity, sales revenue, on-time delivery, transit time, etc…

The obsession with measuring and quantifying is easy to understand.

It can be a clear way to show you’re progressing.

It demonstrates that you’re adding value and moving forward.

There maybe an office motto that “expect what you inspect” and also “you only get better at what you measure”.

You might even find that an office quantifying obsession has driven your mastery of Microsoft Excel and Access as well as a host of other statistical tools.

This stuff is important, and even crucial but…

While “measure, measure, and quantify” works; relying on it alone in your career path is limiting and even dangerous.

There’s a Consequence to not Setting your own Standards

In a Corporation, you’re going to have standards set for you. It keeps the team aligned and working towards the same goal (usually).

However, recognize that these are usually standards that someone else has set.

And ultimately working by these alone are not enough for your career.

It’s much more crucial to learn to set standards for yourself.

Now, when you start setting your own standards it can actually seem unnatural and weird, especially if you’ve had someone else doing it for you for so long.

The good news is that it only takes a little practice.

The even better news is that once you learn to set your own standards in one life domain (say work), it becomes much easier to do it in other domains of life (personal life, sports, etc…).

How to Get Started Developing your Own Career Standards

You can start setting your own standards at this very moment.


It’s easy to start by just noticing at the end of each day, how you know if you did a “good” job.

If you’re not sure, then it’s probably a sign that you’ve got some big upside from defining your own standard.

So begin.

This may be unexpected but try using these five “touchy-feely” career questions to get your own standards going:

  1. How many days of the week do you go home at the end of the work day with a smile?
  2. How many family members and friends are you excited to share what you did that day?
  3. How many times do you find yoursself looking forward to getting to work the next day?
  4. How many mornings of the week do you jump out of the bed ready to attack the day?
  5. How many times did you find yourself exhilarated by what you did?

Keep a list for a week.  Measure and quantify against the standard (your standard).

Next ground your standards with someone else like your boss, spouse, or even a coach.

In getting their feedback on your personal career standard, you can make it even stronger and more meaningful.

To Your Own Career Standards!