How do you know whether or not you are in the right job?
If your job contributes to your personal goals, then this is a good sign that you are in the right job. At least for the short term. If in the long term your job stops contributing to your personal goals, then it might be time to leave and look for a more optimal one. To answer this question correctly, you need to first know what your personal goals are.
Many articles mention some of the following as signs that you are in the right job:
- You always feel energized at work
- You have many good friends at work
- You look forward to Mondays
- You don’t need coffee every morning
and many others. What all of these signs have in common is that they illustrate a job which is flawless and feels weightless. A job that is always fun, that is naturally energizing, and always highly interesting.
Granted, some people have jobs like these. And if you are among these then it’s a perfect match. On the other hand, what makes some people’s jobs fun, energizing, and interesting is not be the job itself.
It could also be the reflection of the jobholder’s attitude.
Because a job is shaped not only by its job description and environment but to a certain extent also by what a person brings to the job.
The above signs can be indicators of a ‘great job’, but I would say that these are weak signs.
And here’s the reason why.
Let’s say that Lucas is a screenwriter. He feels that this is something that he wants to do long term. He’s passionate about writing. Once in a while, he manages to sell a script he spent writing for 50 months, which earns him enough money to cover his living expenses and to save up a bit for retirement.
He writes about things that are meaningful to him and excites him.
However, there are also many times where he finds himself in front of a blank page. Feeling anxious and fearful about whether he’ll be able to write up an interesting scene, or whether it will just be bland.
At times he is doubtful about whether he is a good enough writer. And sometimes he even dreads opening his laptop to start writing.
Sometimes, writing can put him in a state of flow, and he feels that his creativity just pours out. Quite often, he finds himself low on energy. Many times during a writing session, he would just get up from his desk and wander around walking in the city to get energized and inspired.
But yet he insists that it’s the right job for him.
Having the right job doesn’t mean that you are constantly energized and happy.
He also does need his 2 cups of coffee every morning to get him into the right mood to start working.
Being constantly energized and happy in your job, having lots of good friends at work, not needing coffee to get you going, and being extremely excited about Monday mornings are good signs that you’re in the right job.
The lack of these signs doesn’t mean that you’re in the wrong job.
Expecting all these signs to show themselves can set you up for a lot of disappointment.
You might already be in the right job although you don’t constantly feel these things.
You might even be in the right job despite feeling low energy at times, needing 5 cups of coffee a day, and having only a few friends at work.
A bitter pill might not taste good or make you feel good immediately, but it might be just what you need at the moment.
In the same way, the job you have now might not have a lot of feel-good factors, but nevertheless, it might be right for you.
Your job might not be the right job and the ideal job in the long term. But it might be the right job for now.
And here is the reason why:
A job is right for you if it is the best one that you can access at this moment, that supports you in achieving your personal goals.
If your job helps you to achieve your personal goal, and if there is no better option, then it is the right job for now. And this is the case although you don’t feel energized, on top of the world, and totally excited to start the week, all of the time.
And here are a few examples of personal goals that someone might be pursuing. Take a look at these and see whether it applies to you. Also, whether or not the job you have now supports your personal goals.
Your job advances your career
This means, that your job now is a necessary building block for building your career. It is a stepping stone to where you want to get.
You might want to become a film producer. Few people know that most film producers have a strong understanding of accounting.
You might work in a bookkeeping or accounting job now because you know that it will help you to become a great film producer in the future. You might not be excited about the work, and you might need a lot of caffeine to keep your eyes on all the numbers. However, it may still be the right job for you, because it helps you to achieve your long term goal.
Your job supports your earning or savings goals
I have many good friends who work in Banking.
I would be hard-pressed to say that any of them loved their job.
They might not absolutely hate it either. But they wouldn’t be able to check off a list of typical signs that their job is right for them. After working over 10 years in Banking, they do have a lot of good friends that make their jobs enjoyable.
But they are no strangers to boredom and feelings of tiredness and low energy, especially on Sunday evenings. Every afternoon after lunch they can’t wait to call it a day.
Nevertheless, they earn very high incomes in their jobs. Incomes that afford them very pleasurable lives. A high living standard, one or two mortgage payments, and frequent luxurious travels. In addition to that, they can save up lots of money for retirement.
Living an enjoyable lifestyle and buying property are personal goals that many successful people in Banking have.
So are my friends in the right job?
I would say they are. At least for now. Because their job helps them to accomplish their personal goals really well.
An even bigger reason why their current jobs are the right jobs for them is the fact that they have no clue what else they would do besides this.
Your job fits your personal schedule
Your job might be uniquely suited to you because it allows you a high level of flexibility. This is especially useful for people who need to take care of their kids or elderly people in their family.
They might not love their job, and it might get boring at times. But it might still be the right job for them because it supports their goals of caretaking.
Their work schedule and personal schedule are completely compatible. Working this job means that you don’t have to choose between earning an income and taking care of your family.
And I am a strong believer that if you don’t know what you’d rather do yet, you might better just stay put until you do.
But how about the long term? That is a totally different question. People’s goals and priorities change over time. And so might their’s.
As soon as they discover new goals, that are no longer supported by their current jobs, then it is time to rethink the strategy.
So in the short term, your job that is not too pleasant, quite stressful, not that energizing and inspiring, might still be the right job. It might even be crucial to achieving your personal goals.
But for the long-term, try to expand your horizon. Start by reevaluating your personal goals.
Are you aware of what your life goals are? What your vision in life is?
Once you’ve figured this out, you will have a different view about your job. You can then reassess whether or not your current job is still adequate.
In the short term, you might need to swallow a bad-tasting pill. Oftentimes this is necessary to fix a health issue in the short term. But this is not the way to go in the long term. You wouldn’t keep on taking antibiotics for years if your sinusitis keeps occurring.
Short term fixes for short term problems.
In the long term, you need a different solution. A more sustainable solution. You might need to look at your lifestyle, nutrition, and exercise and see if there’s anything you can change about it that will get rid of the sinusitis long term.
Let’s say that for now, your job is a fit for everything going on in your life. Then it’s perfect, for now.
But going forward you will need to regularly assess if your job is still relevant to your life. Also whether you find it sufficient to have just a job, or if you want to have a career. Or perhaps even a calling.
What someone needs from a job can differ vary largely from person to person. For some people, it’s just a thing to get done and get money. Their job and their life are separate things. For others, it needs to be integrated into their lives.
You are in the right job now, if the job that you currently have is the best job to support other personal goals that you are pursuing at the moment. Also ask yourself if this is the right job for the long term, or whether it is only useful for the short-term. If it doesn’t do anything for your short term and long term personal goals, then it is likely the wrong job. Stop wasting your time in that case and look for one that contributes to your personal goals.