This is how to determine if you're in the right job | Ladders

Are you in the right job? It will take time, introspection and a willingness to ask yourself difficult questions to get to the answer.
Advice

This is how to determine if you’re in the right job

A mentor once told me that a quick way to know if you are in the right job is to count the number of good and bad days that you have at your current job. If the good days outweigh the bad days by a long shot, they you are probably in the right place.

While I like that as a quick test, it does not get at the heart of the matter. Is this the right job for me now and in the future. I think it takes time, introspection and willingness to ask yourself difficult questions to know if you are in the right job. Some people fall into the job that they are in by chance and some people intend to do what we are doing. Either way, you may or may not be in the right job for you.

Here are a few suggested questions that you can ask yourself to help evaluate your current job and if it is right for you. Be honest with your answers and patient as you may not be able to answer everything right away.

  1. How motivated are you to go to work everyday?
  2. Am I passionate about the work I am doing?
  3. Do I feel I can make an impact?
  4. Is the work challenging?
  5. Am I learning and growing?
  6. Do I aspire to take on more responsibility and/or be my manager one day?
  7. Do I enjoy working with the people on my team and at my company?
  8. Do I align with the values at the company?

Questions 1, 2 & 3 help you assess if you are enjoying the work and feel you are accomplishing something.

Questions 4, 5 and 6 give you a sense if there is a future for you at the company and whether you aspire to invest the time to get there.

Questions 7 & 8 help you see if you are a fit for the team and the company. It is important that you feel comfortable to bring your whole self to work. Not enjoying the team you are on or feeling friction with company values can be a sign that this is not the right place for you. The more someone feels comfortable in their work environment, the more they can contribute and have impact.

After you go through this exercise of self reflection, It can be helpful to check in with a mentor or someone that knows you well like a friend or family member. They can offer different perspectives or help remove a blind spot for you.

I have had a few notable experiences where someone has shared feedback that suggested I was not in the right job and should consider other options. It was overwhelming at first because I was quite comfortable in my role ( or at least I thought I was). In hindsight, I know it was the best feedback that I had ever gotten because it lead me to the next opportunity that was even better than the current one. It turned out that when I was doing my self reflection and answering the questions above, I was not being honest with myself. Had I only relied on my own thinking, I would have not gotten the opportunities that came next.

Tami Rosen is Vice President of People at Quora where this column first appeared.