Recently I sent an email out to my tribe asking them to answer two questions: (1) "Do you love your job?" and (2) "Are you struggling getting up and going to work?"
Initially, I received several "I love my job" responses, which is always a great thing to hear. Then the "I can't wait to get out of this job" responses started rolling in.
However, it was the "Some days it's great but most days it sucks" responses that actually caught my attention.
You see, I don't believe career satisfaction is always an either/or proposition. It can be a very muted shade of grey, or even 50 shades of grey. *wink wink*
Most of us start a new job or career with hopeful intent, but over time we can become disillusioned, stressed out, burnt out, or simply become unhappy because we have a nagging feeling that we're meant to do something more or different.
Or it can be as simple as being satisfied with some aspects of your job (and that means more than just your paycheck) while being dissatisfied with another aspects like your boss, company politics, or difficult co-workers.
This idea that you have to be in one of two camps (job love or job hate) can feel frustrating, and often ostracizing, too many people who are caught in the middle. Sure, we all have good days and bad days, but when the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other it can be confusing.
With that in mind, I wanted to share four questions that you can use as a checklist or self-assessment to determine if you're just in a periodic rut or it's time to make a move.
Question #1: Am I Doing Meaningful Work?
So basically you want to ask yourself if you engaged with your work and happy doing it at least 85-90% of the job. Let's face it, no job is perfect, but there's a difference to needing a break and needing to get the hell out of there. I believe in work/life alignment and help my clients achieve this in their lives and career. Ask yourself if what you do feels aligned to your values and purpose, and if the answer is yes, your current career may be a keeper.
Question #2: Do I Have the Sunday Night Blues or Monday Morning Flu?
While we're good at mentally rationalizing or justifying our decisions, our bodies will tell us the truth. In my last role as an associate dean I remember consistently catching colds and had few bouts of bronchitis. I attributed my frequent illnesses to my busy and recurrent travel schedule. But as my mind tried to rationalize what was going on, my body was telling me the truth of the situation....I was really unhappy and overstressed. So as the weekend comes to a close, pay attention to whether you're feeling an impending sense of dread or nausea, because it may be your body trying to give you a clue to your level of career satisfaction.
Question #3: Am I Learning and Growing?
Life is ever evolving and you should be evolving with it. That means your work should facilitate your growth and development, both personally and professionally. Learning agility is a complex set of skills that allows us to learn something in one situation and apply it in a completely different situation. As you become more agile in the application of your gifts, knowledge and skills, the more opportunities you'll have for promotion, advancement and even change. Not only should this be a priority for you, the prospect of learning and growth should be readily available to you in your current career.
Now I'll ask you: "Do you love your job?" or "Do you struggle going to work?" If you find it challenging to answer, use these three questions to help you find the truth and insight to your next move.
Feeling like you need to probe a bit deeper? Then join my FREE 5-day training program Career R.E.S.E.T. starting January 20th. Over 5-days you'll get clear on what you want, what's holding back and explore what was possible for you in your life and career.