Monthly Archives: November 2011

The one-page career “cheat sheet.”

Do you like your job?

Do you like what you do?

I've spent time with a wide range of folks - people in start-ups, people in recently established businesses, people in small companies, and people in large companies. This question comes up a lot, yet you can't seem to figure out whether or not to stay or go. Whether to try something new. If it's possible to fix something that's an existing problem.

Given statistics that say that as much as 80% of people don't like their job, and some 25% of us are un- or under-employed, I scratched out a quick flow chart for questions to ask yourself about your current job -- or a job you are considering. (To download a free PDF of this file, head over here, or click the image below to save as a jpg).

Reflection Questions: (Answer Yes, I'm Not Sure, or No)

    1. Am I my best self in this relationship?
    2. Do I believe in the product, organization, or service?
    3. How does this job make me feel? Good, Accomplished, Satisfied?
    4. Am I challenged to be my best?
    5. Am I growing and learning?
    6. Am I meeting or surrounding myself with good people doing interesting things?
    7. Are people in this organization open to new ideas and receptive to each other?
    8. Is this the best use of my skills and talents? Aka - Am I indispensible?
    9. Are there people I can learn from and look up to? Do I have good mentors or advisers?
    10. Do I want to become my boss?

If yes: (More than 5? Rock on! You nailed it!)

If I'm not sure or No: Ask the following follow up questions:

    1. Will this change?
    2. How long will this take to change?
    3. Is this non-negotiable?
    4. Is there somewhere else with more YES responses?

This is an exercise I do every few months, as well, to check in. Sometimes I'll meet a friend for dinner and we'll talk about what we want to achieve and what our goals are. I check-in regularly with my own progress, debating what the best career path is and how to keep myself up to snuff. Some of the questions I ask myself I find myself asking other people over and over. My focus is always on trying to figure out problems, understand how things work, and discover how to make tweaks to make things better.

And so, -- voila! -- a one-page cheat sheet of notes straight from the notebook in a dorky little flow chart. I use these periodically to determine whether or not to take on freelance work, whether or not I'm happy at my current position, and also to determine if your job is a good fit for YOU. By many accounts, it may be a great job -- for someone else. If you have a few "yes" answers below and a few things to figure out; congrats, you're in good shape. If you have more than half yeses, and a few things to work on, killer. And if you have all yeses, like the folks I recently bantered with about their new start-up, then you're doing what you were made to do.

What do you think of this cheat sheet? Is it helpful? Let me know if you have other questions you would ask if you're trying to figure out the right career fit.

 

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