Busy security professionals may find it difficult to step back and take an introspective pause from their often-substantial work responsibilities. It is easy to get caught up in the demanding pace at which many of us work. However, a break is often the most beneficial thing security professionals can do to keep things in perspective and allow time to think about where your career is headed. 

The concept of taking yourself out of your typical environment for the purpose of evaluation and making changes is not new. There are retreats for every personal goal you can think of, and corporations have long sponsored team-building retreats. 

Consider allocating time for something similar for yourself that is focused on your career path. Even if only for a brief period of time, pick a location that resonates with you and plan for a career evaluation retreat. Unplug from every day and give yourself free rein to look at the whole picture. 

Take this valuable time to analyze your current role. Perhaps you are well-compensated but dissatisfied with the structure of your organization. Think about changes you can either influence or make that will improve your job satisfaction in this circumstance. 

Look at your portfolio of responsibilities. Perhaps there are shifts you can make that better align with corporate goals and increase the benefit to both you and your organization. Take time to consider all of the variables; sometimes shifts can be as simple as jettisoning negative or underperforming vendors. This can make favorable changes in your budget and position you to target excellence in your supply chain. 

What if you have a wonderful job with a solid organization but feel your salary is sub-par? Perhaps there is an opportunity to broaden your remit that will elevate you in your salary band. 

Alternatively, are there interesting and rewarding career paths open to you within the company? Look at avenues not necessarily thought of as conventional corporate security. Your skills, competencies and experience may be attractive to other departments if you do not want to leave a great company. 

If none of these ideas strike you, consider what it will take to make a move both professionally and personally. If you wish to change your career trajectory, is there additional education or training you want to accomplish that will better position you to transition into the job you want? If you have a family, factor in the impact a physical move would have on them. 

We, personally, have found that intentional pauses designed to allow quality time and space in which to make future plans have been of great value to us across the past 25 years. For example, this fall, the first week of October found us blowing into Holden Beach, North Carolina on the exiting winds of Hurricane Ian. Every wave on a beach is a reset — an interesting metaphorical image when considering change. 

Regardless of what environment speaks to you, find it and step out of always “being on.” Decompress and then take time to evaluate where you are now in your security career, where you want to go with it, and how to make that happen. 

Plan to repeat this exercise regularly. It will allow you to make career decisions with conscious intention — something that is immensely rewarding.