Gloria Steinem once said, "We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs."

And it's true! You can tell a lot about a person by taking a peek into their wallet, like where they shop, what things they prefer to splurge or skimp on, and whether they carry coupons.

But what about their professional performance? It is certainly possible to gain some insight around a person's work habits based on their personal spending habits. In fact, reflecting on our own spending habits might be just what we need in order to have a career breakthrough.

So first, take stock of your finances: your cash flow, spending habits, savings accounts, material possessions, and general philosophies around money. Then, think about how these practices manifest in your career. In light of these discoveries, is your career in a good place? How can you make shifts in both your finances and career to move toward a better life?

 

Here are three things your personal finance might say about your career potential:

 

1. Whether you're a long-term or a short-term thinker.

Do you prioritize saving for retirement? Do you tend to purchase things on a whim? These might be signs that you aren't the best at long-term thinking. In the working world, this can result in a lot of things, like improperly prioritizing work tasks or making business decisions solely based on potential short-term gains.

When it comes to your own career path, these habits can be even worse. If you are only focusing on instant gratification and what's in front of you, you might stray from the path to your dream job. For instance, next time you are offered a promotion or a new job, consider whether you are taking it just to get a raise or if it's truly aligned with what challenges and fulfills you.

 

2. Whether you are a people-first leader. Do you spend without thinking? Or do you consider how your spending habits affect those you love? Do you like to spend money on other people? Do you spend more on experiences or things?

Your answers to the above questions can reveal how you work with others and whether you are a people-first leader. Thoughtless spending might mean that you aren't always thinking about your impact on others, and this can lead to tension in the workplace. Remember, getting the best work done requires having an engaged and inspired team. By focusing on the happiness and fulfillment of others, you can have a major effect on your business's bottom line.

 

3. Whether you are conscientious about your career path.

Are you great at balancing your checkbook? Do you make sure you stick to budgets? Has this entire financial assessment gone super easy for you because you already regularly check in with your finances?

All of these habits point to a strong, healthy practice of checking in on your performance at work or taking the time to think about your career vision. Reflecting on your engagement and impact at work should be done on a weekly or regular basis. Don't wait until your annual performance evaluation to start making strategic changes. Your dream job might be closer than you think!

Published on: May 27, 2016