You’re happy to have a job, of course. But are you really happy in your job? If you want the best of all worlds—i.e. to live to work rather than work to live, then maybe it’s time to ask yourself whether you are actually happy where you are—or whether you could be happier somewhere else, doing something else.
Have no idea how to figure this one out? Try asking yourself the following questions.
1. What do you care about?
Step one is to identify your passion. Figure out what gets you really jazzed up. It might be in a whole different career field entirely—you’ll never know until you do the soul searching necessary to find out. What do you enjoy? Writing? Working as a group? Working with your hands? No idea is too stupid. Figure out what really makes you excited and then figure out how to pursue it as a second step.
2. What do you do best?
Identifying your strengths is a good next step. Can any of them work laterally? For example, can you move to a slightly different field or totally different position that’s more suited to what you really care about purely by repurposing the skills you already have? Think a bit differently about what you can actually do—not just what you’ve studies and what you’ve been doing.
3. Are you proud of your company?
Does the company culture make you feel great about working where you do? Is this a challenging environment that also offers rewards and some degree of fulfillment? If you can’t excel where you are, and are not empowered to achieve your very best, then you might consider moving around.
4. How’s your boss?
This actually makes a massive difference. If you have a good rapport and a relationship built on mutual respect and trust, that goes a very long way toward job satisfaction. If your boss isn’t helping you to grow, then perhaps your happiness will suffer.
5. What’s your role?
Are you part of the solution? In the challenges facing your company and the world, does your position matter? Does the work you do every day make active gains in working toward an answer? Or do you feel like you’re irrelevant—or just part of the problem? Look back at your job description. Is your role part of the company’s boarder mission? Are you doing work that includes what made you excited to work there in the first place? Or just pushing paper and twiddling your thumbs?
6. Is your network growing?
A good job is one that will help you to expand your network? If you’re constantly meeting new people and being inspired and challenged by what the other people in your industry are doing, you’ll be much less bored where you are. You might even have a great lead for where to end up next!
7. How’s communication?
Start paying attention to how your company communicates—with everyone. This includes the interview process. Are people personable? Professional? Punctual with responses to questions and their share of the work? Are the bosses totally hands off, or does everyone feel like they have a stake in the mission at hand? How are you and others evaluated? Fairly? Constructively?
8. How do your colleagues feel?
If everyone else is wildly thrilled where they are at your company, and you’ve determined that you’re at least in the right field or job, then perhaps there are deeper problems with your lack of satisfaction than can be fixed by switching careers. But if you uncover a lot of similar gripes to yours? It might be time to go back to Step 1 and start thinking about where you might go next.