Are you happy with your current job? Are you doing interesting work and progressing in a way that will have a positive impact on your future career goals? Many people are comfortable with their job, but also feel it may not be challenging enough or is missing aspects that would make it a fulfilling and rewarding career. Even if you are satisfied with what you’re doing now or have been a top performer at your company, your job may not necessarily be the best fit for you.
It may be time to take a step back and consider what is best for your career path. Here, we’ve compiled four important considerations to make when deciding if you are due for a career transition.
One easy way of knowing if your current job is the best fit for you is determining whether you’re actually happy with all aspects of the position and the company you work for. This is a multi-layered question that you may want to take some time with before answering. Calculating job satisfaction may include an assessment of the tasks and responsibilities at your job. If you’re the type of person that craves new challenges, working at a job where you’re only delegated simple or basic tasks is probably not the best position for you. Salary is, of course, another important consideration. You should be getting paid a wage commensurate with the work you do. If you’re not, work can become demoralizing and leave you feeling undervalued.
Other aspects to think about include your boss’ management style, which usually affects how you’re getting your work done. Opportunities for advancement, the location of your workspace, the company’s culture and vision and whether it fits with your own values, and work-life balance should also factor into your decision.
If someone were to ask you, “how do you like your job?”, what would be your answer? As you think about it now, do you find yourself focusing a lot on the negative aspects? A test you can give yourself to help come up with a final answer is thinking about whether you look forward to or absolutely dread going into work in the morning. Another is listing all of the things you do like about where you work.
Some things to include in your list might be the mental stimulation you derive from performing your job. For example, are you given opportunities to apply knowledge and skills you’ve accumulated during your schooling and previous work experience? Do you get to work on interesting and thought-provoking projects? Thinking about what you would like to change about your job if you could is another useful exercise. If your list starts reaching the double digits, you may need to start considering other options.
Working at a job that is not too challenging may have more disadvantages than you think, particularly if you want to have stronger skills and expertise to impress your next manager. Are you given opportunities to strengthen your professional skillset? Are the skillsets you’re building the right ones to achieve your long-term career goals? If you find yourself having difficulty answering these questions, your current job may not be the best fit in terms of professional development.
A good place to start is deciding what your long-term goals are. For instance, if you are interested in management positions, but are not being given enough opportunities to practice or demonstrate leadership, you may want to look into manager training programs or companies that have fast-track schemes. Figuring out your professional goals is undoubtedly going to take a significant amount of work on your part, including research, dedication, and focus, but finding a job that is conducive to those goals should make this a top priority.
It’s easy to get caught up with the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities at your job without giving yourself a moment to reflect on how you really feel about what you’re doing. One way of doing this is to keep a work journal or diary, a private written record of your professional life. A work journal allows you to keep track of the tasks you do regularly and elaborate on how you feel about them. You can try to do this by rating each task on a scale of 1 to 10 based on skill development, mental/intellectual stimulation, interest, and any other professional characteristic you feel is important. Define what growing professionally means to you and use the rating scale to determine if your current job fits this definition. If you can, try to record an entry every day.
Of course, no job is perfect, and it’s okay to not be fond of everything you are tasked with at your work. However, there should be a decent balance of good and not-so-good in your work diary. If the low-rated tasks recorded in your journal seriously outnumber the ones you enjoy, appreciate, and learn from, you might benefit from exploring other job opportunities.
After reading through this article, what are your thoughts? Are you satisfied with your current position or do you feel like a change might be necessary? It’s not an easy determination to make, but the suggestions listed above can help get you started on evaluating whether your job is a good fit.
If you do decide on pursuing a different career path, there are several great ways to go about scoping out new opportunities. Get names and business cards from people you meet at networking or other professional events, strengthen your LinkedIn profile and start reaching out to new contacts, or try out new recruiting tools such as Jobalaya’s referral service. Even if you don’t find something you like immediately, taking these steps allows you to increase your options for moving forward professionally.