Are you familiar with those moments when you ask yourself: Am I in the right job? Quite often this happens when something really has annoyed you. Or a long day of hard work comes to an end and you wonder why you feel so exhausted. It might just be a one-off or rare moment. But what does it mean when this does not happen only once in a week, but much more often?
It might be that there is no large overlap between your personal needs, strengths and interests, and your job – or at least not any longer. How can or could it come to this? There may be many reasons for this: either you didn't look close enough when you chose your job, or you didn't really have a choice at the time, or you just don't know yourself very well. However, the following scenario is much more likely: your job or the organization you work for has changed over time and you haven't become aware of it yet. Well, another possible scenario is: you yourself may have changed. The reasons for this might be changes in your private life, a change in terms of your very own values, or simply experience of life.
Often, we choose a job based on our core competences: what are our strengths, what kind of training courses did I complete, and how much work experience do I have. Fine, that’s a good start. But what are the other equally important aspects that are of significance for a good fit between person and job such as:
- Personal values and core beliefs
- Working conditions such as teleworking and mandatory on-site attendance, working hours, travel times
- Geographical place of work – where do I want to live?
- Personal interests and their alignment with the industry where I work
- People I'd like to work with: do I need a mixed age group, do I think that a particular type of communication is important to me, etc.
A simple yet honest self-reflection can be made to efficiently check aspects 2 to 5 in terms of the current alignment of your own desires and the actual situation in the job. Aspect #1 “Personal values and core beliefs” is the most complex issue, in my view.
A useful tool for this issue is the Moving Motivators exercise developed by Jurgen Appelo. The Moving Motivators describe 10 core beliefs that are important or less important for an individual:
- Goal / purpose
- Power and
If you put these 10 intrinsic motivators into a specific order, based on the importance for yourself (for example, from left to right: where left means less important and right means important), and then move these motivators up the scale if you can commit to them strongly in your current or offered job, or move them down the scale if you can commit to them only to a limited degree or not at all, then you get a very good indication of the extent to which the job actually fits or will fit your own set of values.
Now, after this brief analysis, what about the alignment of your needs with the actual conditions of your current or offered job? If this adjustment is carried out at regular intervals (e.g. twice a year), you can save yourself from being “annoyed” with your current job.
Mind you: Having an open mind is the most important prerequisite for performing this exercise. Because the outcome may be that your current job does not entirely fit your personal values. And that means change…
This text first appeared in my newsletter 'Innovation on Wednesday'. It is published every other Wednesday. For subscription click here