If you absolutely love your job, then you are likely aware of that fact. If you are miserable at your job, then you're probably aware of that, too.
But what about if you're somewhere in the middle?
You enjoy your job but wonder whether you should start looking for something even better. This is a tough decision, and one that most of us will inevitably struggle with at some point during our careers.
There is no magic formula to tell you the answer, because we each have different goals and values. But I have developed a three-step process that helps you figure out what is important to you... and how to get it!
Step 1: Investigate
Take an honest assessment of how well your job meets your standards. It is sometimes hard to know what your standards are, and so I have made a list of some of the most important job qualities that people look in their jobs. Look at this list, and pick out the five most important elements to you. You can add your own, too!
You are appreciated and respected. You know that if you do a good job, you will be praised and rewarded. You are trusted, and your opinion matters.
You appreciate and respect you co-workers. You might not always see eye-to-eye with them, but you consider them to be smart people with whom you enjoy spending the day solving problems.
Your compensation matches (or exceeds) your needs. Your salary and benefits are such that you can meet your spending and savings targets.
You can live the lifestyle you want. Many factors go into this one: Do you like the hours you work? The amount of vacation time you get? The location of the job? The flexibility of the workday? The ability to work from home?
You feel as though your work matters and is making a difference. At the end of the day, do you feel as though your work affected someone or something in a meaningful way?
You feel talented and competent at your job … or as though you could be with time. You feel as though you are truly great at what you do or have the talent to become great with some more time and practice.
You are learning and growing. Instead of doing the same thing every day, you are able to branch out and learn new skills. This keeps your job fresh and interesting.
You enjoy the daily work itself. Sure, every job will have some negative qualities. But on the whole, you enjoy the actual work that you do.
Step 2: Evaluate
For each of the five elements you picked:
Score each quality on a point scale of 1 (your job lacks this quality) to 10 (nailed it!)
Add up all of the points.
Examine your total. I have found that jobs at or above 32 have good potential, although this is a rough metric and of course varies person-to-person.
While not an exact science, this metric is a way for you to start understanding in what areas your job is lacking and brainstorm ways to bring that rating up. I have found that my clients who take on this exercise eventually raise their total "job score" by five or more points with a combination of the following strategies.
Step 3: Improve
Next, use what you learned about your job in the previous two steps to improve your current job. For each low-scoring quality, you can often bring up the rating by:
Having a conversation and making a request.
Focusing on your priorities.
Building a structure or habit.
Reaching out to connect with others.
Growing your own confidence.
Limiting gossip, complaining, and criticizing.
Being grateful for the good aspects of your job.
For example, one of my clients who worked in accounting scored her job at 50 because she was unhappy with her lifestyle and didn’t enjoy her work. At first glance, this might seem like a deal breaker. But, after digging a bit deeper, she discovered that the real problem was poor prioritizing.
She had developed the reputation of being a "yes” person who would help with any project, and as a result she's been spread too thin. She actually did like accounting, but she found it difficult to enjoy her job because she was constantly stressed and overworked. After building some hard-and-fast rules about taking on projects and honoring the most important aspects of her job, she was able to craft a more manageable and rewarding schedule in a few months.
By approaching your job through this more quantitative lens, you'll be able to clearly recognize the areas that could use some improvement.
What will you do to bring your rating up? Write me a note and share!