Here’s what usually happens when people move from “I have a job” to “I need to look for a new job.” Something happens that triggers that change: You get into an argument with your manager, your coworkers tick you off, or you get saddled with some new project and get no help to get it done. Maybe it’s a poor performance review. It’s usually “something happens” that leads directly to “I’m outta here.”
That’s a reactive decision, not a proactive decision. There’s a big difference, in that reacting to something means the probability of making a poor decision is much higher. You jump to that next employer because you so desperately want to get out of the situation you are in with your current employer. And six months later, you find out the jump didn’t really solve the problem you had with the work.
Monitoring your personal job satisfaction is important, because it gives you a way to see a deteriorating work satisfaction before you reach the “I’m outta here” stage. Taking the pulse of your job satisfaction allows you to see the trends and helps you prepare to take action, whether that action is finding a new job inside the company or at a different employer.
A simple way of measuring your job satisfaction is to rank five categories of your choosing from 1 to 5 (just like those performance review ratings), and add them up. Do that every three months. Mark your three-month review date on your calendar so you do it consistently and not in reaction to something else at work. Plot the scores on a spreadsheet. Watch the trend.
What categories? It’s up to you, but most people leave their jobs because of their relationship with their manager. That becomes a must-have category in my view. Another is your relationship with coworkers in your department.
Beyond that, it could be satisfaction with the type of work you’ve defined as what you want to spend most of your time doing. Or maybe it’s training opportunities. Or maybe it’s the ongoing perks. Regardless, once you rate your relationship with your manager and coworkers, pick what is important to you on the job. Then rank the categories.
Do this every three months, starting right now, and you’ll be able to tell soon enough how things are going in your current job.
Putting in a system to evaluate your job satisfaction is a key activity you can use to monitor your career and take proactive steps to change areas of dissatisfaction before you get to “I’m so outta here.”
Image: Survey Questionnaire 2 [Bigstock]