Is your job meeting your needs? You could ignore this question; many of us do. After all, if we start asking ourselves unsettling questions about whether our job meets our real needs, we might not like the answers. Except — if we don’t ask the questions, we don’t change.
The alternative? — Ask yourself seven questions. Then, use what you learn to expand your skills and your paycheck.
Is your job growing you?
Are you working to your full potential? Does your job contain victories that enhance your self-esteem or disappointments that erode your sense of self? What professional development opportunities do you need? Are you getting them?
What matters more?
If you had the chance to choose between two jobs, what would lead you to choose one over the other? Is money more or less important than interesting work? Is social contact more or less essential than the chance to advance? Would you rather a job offering the opportunity to make challenging decisions or one with greater security?
What excites you at work?
Do you enjoy getting to the end of your in-basket or prefer starting new long-term projects even if it means you have to give up crossing things off a to do list? Would you rather research and write reports or assist customers? Do you enjoy the days with people interaction or cherish quiet concentration? Would you rather work at 90 or 45 miles per hour?
What do you want to give up?
Do you negotiate on behalf of your company even though the process shreds your patience? Does filing send you over the job satisfaction cliff? Are you the firm’s resident computer guru and handle others’ needs because you’re the most skilled – but give up true job satisfaction in return?
How does work fit into your life?
Do you have time for the things you most need to do? Are you making enough money or are you making more than you really need, and could you downshift to a job that allows you more personal time? How does your job mesh with what you want for your life?
If you could change your job, what would you change first?
Do you need more authority to balance your responsibility? Would you like to do exactly the same kind of work, but become your own boss?
What does your gut say?
If you knew then what you know now would you have launched into your career or taken the job you now have? If your best friend asked, “Would I like your job?” what might you say? Do you enjoy getting up and going to work?
What do your answers reveal? Does your job meet your needs? If not, yet your job comes close to matching what you want from work, how can you fix the areas of near miss? And if your job doesn’t meet your needs, what and how will you change? You can ignore this final question – and many do – and simply live the answers. Or you can play to win.