What’s Your Misery Index? Rate Your Job Satisfaction.
A question that comes up for many professionals at some point in their career is: “How do I know when it is time to consider a career, job, or company change?” It’s a question most of us probably ask ourselves, but often without any analysis of the factors that ought to inform our decisions. A little bit of self-examination can go a long way to making the right decision. Knowing which questions to ask one’s self is critical.
What are the right questions?
The issues to consider are going to vary from person to person and will depend on a myriad of variables including what stage of life and what stage of career we are in, where we hope to go next, and whether our current situation is meeting our present or future needs. Needless to say, this kind of self-assessment can get complicated rather quickly. So, let’s boil the process down to 20 basic questions that we all should be asking ourselves periodically.
Answer these questions with a Yes, No or Maybe.
- Am I happy here?
- Do I have a future in this organization?
- Can I see myself here in three or five years from now?
- Are there opportunities for promotion, added responsibilities, and increased compensation?
- Am I challenged?
- Are my contributions valued by the organization?
- Do my contributions make a difference here?
- Is the organization investing time, energy, and capital to help me be the best I can be?
- Am I investing my time, energy, effort, and skills toward something that is fulfilling?
- Do I feel a sense of belonging?
- Does what I am doing now match what I thought would be doing when I started?
- Are there growth opportunities here?
- Do I enjoy the work I do?
- Am I comfortable with my colleagues?
- Is this organization well-positioned for the current and future economy?
- Do I enjoy working with my firm’s customers and stakeholders?
- Is the organization doing everything it can to stay competitive?
- Am I being deployed in the most effective way possible?
- Are my bosses supportive?
- Do I agree with the organization’s mission and its ethics?
For every question that you answered with a “No,” score yourself five points. For every “Maybe,” score yourself one point. For every “Yes,” score a zero. Now tally up your total.
Evaluating your score
Zero to 10 points. This score suggests that while there are some things that you might wish were different at your current organization, for the most part, you would seem to have a strong, positive viewpoint. Nothing is perfect after all, but this seems like an excellent fit.
10 to 25 points. You are still in the range where, while you feel there could be improvements to your situation, for the most part the environment is largely a good match for you. Not perfect, but not horrible either.
25 to 50 points. You are in a range where chances are you have been questioning the fit for a while. You are probably unhappy or unfulfilled more often than not. Perhaps answering these questions – actually putting some analytic thought into what AND why – has you wondering what you should do in the future. It could be that a career move of some kind ought to be part of your plans.
51 points or above. Why are you still there? This is an exceptionally high misery index. A score like this suggests that nothing the company is offering is fitting your needs and that you don’t see a future there. How you have managed to hang in there this long is a question that is probably long overdue. If you haven’t already begun to actively (aggressively might be a better word here ) pursue a new gig, you should jump into search mode immediately (or, maybe need to have your head examined).
Additional questions you should ask yourself
Does the company offer professional development, training, tuition assistance or other programs to help employees enrich their skills? AND… Have I taken advantage of these opportunities?
Are there opportunities that might suit me in other parts of the organization? AND… Have I fully explored these?
Is there something within my control that I could do to make this a better job? AND… Have I been exercising that control to my advantage?
These are all potential offsets to some of the negatives in the self-examination above. If, for example, the company has opportunities in other business units or roles, maybe now would be good time to explore them before jumping ship. If the organization has professional development opportunities that you haven’t taken advantage of, perhaps doing so would solve some of your dissatisfaction in the long term.
So, what to do if you scored high on our informal misery index? Take stock of your situation. Consider what your options are. Weigh the possibility of making a move. Start planning what kind of a move might make you happier AND, at least as importantly, how to make it happen. DON’T quit your current position in haste (candidates who are employed are almost always more attractive than those who are unemployed). But DO be planning ahead.
Don’t go at it alone! The team at ECP has been assisting professionals like you through the complexities of job searching for decades. Our extensive knowledge of the job market and our search techniques have helped our clients reach their goals faster than going at it alone. Reach out now to learn more about how we can help you make the change and get hired faster!