Seven Steps to the Right Job

Are you in the right job? A 2013 Gallup poll found that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. The 2018 Gallup survey figure is better for 2018 American worker engagement – 34% – but still disconcertingly low.

Are you just working for the money?

At the most basic level, you work because you need or want money. You’ve got to cover the basics, such as food and shelter. Above and beyond, you may also want to afford a more palatable meal, a better ride, or that fun vacation. Work for money. It’s a trade: your time and labor to put bread on the table. And the salary needs to be fair.

But ultimately, earning money is the mundane side of a job. You spend it and you forget it. Is it worth trading unhealthy work for happiness, and if so, for how long? For many people, such as volunteers, money is not even the point of working. You need money, but there should be something more to work than cash in hand. If it’s only about the money, you’re missing out.

What kind of work would you do for free?

You know that occasional moment at work when you astonishingly realize that you’d still do a particular task, even if you weren’t paid? If the question is odd that’s a bellwether that you may be in the wrong job. Listen to yourself closely when you’re happy at work because that’s your compass for what you should be doing. Imagine a job where you’re so passionate about your work, you would do it for free – and the bonus is that you’re getting paid.

Are you being paid to learn?

Your education should be near the top of your list. What did you learn at work today? If you’re not paid to learn, or paid to better your skills, then something is amiss. Your education keeps life fresh and interesting. It paves the path to your future value in the workplace. Your education is your investment in yourself. The world is changing quickly and you need to keep pace or outpace change. If you’re not learning at work you’re in a burning building. Recognize smoke and flames: Seek change or get out.

How challenging is your job?

The richness of your education is driven by challenge. Challenge is the incline and pace of education. Are you learning at a rapid rate, and do you have the opportunity to fail and grow from your mistakes? Challenge is everywhere. You can find challenge in even the most menial tasks. There’s always room to better your focus and work smarter. A good manager can help you set and conquer challenges. It’s up to you to raise the hurdles.

Do you like the people you work with?

You will probably spend as much time, if not more time, with your colleagues, clients, and customers than you do with your own family, friends, or significant others. Do you like the people you work with? Do they support your interests, and is there mutual respect and admiration? The people you work with can help you develop, they can grow your confidence, and your ability to achieve.

Is your manager working for you?

When someone says they love where they work, but they don’t like their manager, it’s not a great job. Does your manager recognize your value, and support your growth and career aspirations? Do they empower you to be your best while helping you to prioritize? Even great managers don’t always fit employee needs. Your manager is key to a healthy job.

Is the journey compelling?

Finally, are you on a journey that is helping you make the most out of life? The illusion is that you’re beholden to your employer, but the truth is that you are in charge of your own career. You are in control of change. Is your work meaningful, rewarding and progressing? Are you making a difference at work? Are you curious about today and looking forward to tomorrow? Work-life should make for a great and balanced story. Done right, your job will be one way you want to spend your time.