Here are some areas of your work that you should think about when deciding if it’s time to find another job. (Give yourself three points for an a, two points for a b, one point for a c.)
1. Your boss:
How often do you have lunch alone with your boss?
a. Every week at your favorite restaurant.
b. A few times a year at your boss’s favorite restaurant.
c. Once a year when your boss is apologizing for missing your performance review.
2. Future prospects at the company:
You get a big, very important assignment due in two weeks. You
a. Get unsolicited coaching from your boss because she wants to make sure you succeed at the project and get a promotion.
b. Put off the work until the last minute because you find it difficult to please your boss and you worry that you will fail.
c. Work very, very hard, but generally have no idea what you’re doing. In the end, the project is a colossal failure and your boss makes a point of taking no blame.
3. Sense of belonging:
The theme of your company party is dress as your favorite movie star. You
a. Tell your boss you resent stupidity at company parties. But you make the best of it and dress like James Dean so you can get a thrill from wearing jeans and a T-shirt to work.
b. Lobbied for a come-as-you-are party and lost. So you show up to the party but don’t dress up. You stick out like a sore thumb, or at least a sore loser, but your co-worker joins you, so good food can make things acceptable.
c. Avoid the party in full because last year the CEO drank too much and started making passes at people in your demographic.
4. The public’s perception:
Your phone rings fifteen times in one hour. Who’s on the phone?
a. Headhunters, because you are so high profile in your job that people are starting to talk about your future in the field.
b. Your friends because they know you make your evening plans in the afternoon, when work gets slow.
c. Your mom because you told her if you don’t get a new job soon you’re going to kill yourself.
5. Personnel policies:
You wake up with a throbbing boulder attached to your gum. You
a. Leave a message for your boss that you’ll be at the dentist. Receive an email from your boss the next day expressing genuine concern.
b. Call human resources to find out if you have a comp day left. When you find that you have none, declare that you’re working from home and then go to the dentist.
c. Go to work with blood dripping from your mouth. Wax nostalgic about the good old days when you had sick days at work and health insurance to pay for them.
6. Company stability:
Your company is in the newspaper today. The company just
a. Beat Wall St.’s revenue expectations.
b. Canned the CEO and hired a top turnaround specialist
c. Laid off 50% of the staff and sent a list of the jilted to the press
7. Office stress:
Your co-worker just got dumped by the guy she thought she would marry. Now she
a. Asks you if you have any friends who are available.
b. Cries all day, stopped doing her work and now you have to pick up the slack.
c. Informs you that she stole a bunch of electronics from her ex and is storing the stash in her cube. She adds, “If he comes by with a gun, don’t worry. He’d never use it.”
8. Office environment:
Your office space is:
a. Bright and sunny with nice carpet; you wish you could entertain your dates here instead of at your apartment.
b. A claustrophobic cube but at least it’s ergonomically correct.
c. Rotating. There’s one computer for two people and you use it when your co-worker goes to the bathroom.
9. Location, location, location
Your company is located
a. Three blocks from your dream house and you walk to work.
b. In a state you promised yourself you would not live in for more than five years.
c. A five-hour plane ride from the home where your three kids live.
10. The Starbucks factor:
How many Starbucks cafes are within walking distance from your office?
a. Five, because employees at your company are raking in the dough and everyone knows that where there are high salaries there are $4 cups of coffee.
b. One, but the cafe has big, cushy seats for falling asleep in the middle of the day.
c. None. To get through morning meetings you must resort to the No Doze pills of your college days.
11. Company perks.
At the end of your midday workout you:
a. Toss your sweaty clothes into the company’s health club laundry and your clothes are laundered and in your locker by tomorrow’s workout.
b. Go to the company cafeteria and load up on subsidized carbohydrates.
c. Hit the bars; work is so slow that there’s no reason to go back.
During your performance review, your boss
a. Gives you a map for the next five years that will rocket launch your career.
b. Informs you there is a salary freeze for everyone not related to the CEO.
c. Tells you that his own boss gave him a horrid performance review and asks if you would put in a good word for him.
13. During a business trip with the CEO
a. He uses the time to mentor you about the ways of deal making and then sits back and watches you close the deal of your life.
b. You book a flight on an obscure airline with two plane transfers to save money and find out the CEO is flying American, for twice the price, to get frequent flier miles.
c. The CEO invites you back to his hotel room at midnight, and when you decline, he says he’s insulted that you would think it was for anything but business.
14. You hold a team meeting in your office and
a. They surprise you with a birthday cake even though you didn’t tell them it’s your birthday.
b. Everyone shows up late except for the person you have been trying to fire for a year; she showed up a day early.
c. Your office is so small that the meeting has to be moved to a conference room, but there are none available because everyone’s office is too small so you cancel the meeting.
10- 14 points
You are probably so upset about your job right now that you can’t even pull it together to launch a hunt for a new one. So instead, invest in a therapist. Try to figure out why you have stayed in this job as long as you have. Figure out why you put up with so much crap in your life. On some level, you probably enjoy it, which is why you got yourself into this mess in the first place.
You are probably bad at setting goals for yourself, because if you had any goals, you’d realize you’re not meeting them by staying in your current job. Make an honest assessment of what the two or three most important things in your life are. Figure out what you need to get them, and focus on that. Surely, part of your plan will entail getting rid of this current job.
It’s a bad economy, but for someone like you, that can’t matter. You still need to find a new job. Think about taking a step down in salary and responsibility in order to get into a better working environment. Many of the people who score very low in this test will say that they keep this job in order send their kids to camp, buy a flat screen television, etc. But your kids need a role model who is happy in their job more than they need camp. Besides, you can find a discount camp once you settle for a discount salary. And for those of you who justify your awful job in the name of wonderful electronics, remember that you spend more time at your job each day than you do in front of your television. So you get more mileage out of a job that makes you happy than a job that makes you able to buy a TV.
You are probably not the happiest worker in the world, but your job can be salvaged. You need goals and you need boundaries and once these are in place you will be able to put together a good job among mediocre opportunities.
Get a clear image of what you would need at this company in order to be very happy. For most people, feeling challenged and appreciated are the most important aspects of their job. So take a look at those areas first. Then examine your long-term goals and make sure that what you are doing at work now is setting you up to achieve your goals in the future. It’s a lot easier to put up with workplace BS if you know that your job meets your big- goals.
As long as you deliver a little beyond what your boss asks of you, you will be free to request additional projects that interest you and perks that enable you to continue high-level output. Let your boss know what parts of your job you like, and what parts are difficult for you — either because you hate them or because you need more coaching. Also, be sure to tell your boss how she can help you to succeed at work. She’ll appreciate this request since the better you perform the better she looks.
Reassess your situation in three or four months. If you score higher on this test next time you take it, then you are headed in the right direction. If your point spread stagnates, you need to start asking yourself some questions: Are you unable to create change because you are timid and unsure or because you are in a job that will never improve? If you think the truth lies in the latter then make a plan to jump ship. But remember that things are not so bad where you are, so look before you leap. There’s no point in jumping when there’s no other ship in sight.
You have a great job. The only problem you have is that you took the time to take this test. Did you not realize that you would score in the ranks of the happiest contingent? Do you not realize that you are in the worst economy in decades yet you have a great job at a great company?
Before you get yourself into trouble, learn to evaluate situations with a sharper eye. To continue your career path in the direction of success, you will have to trust your instinct. Right now, your instinct is not great — perhaps clouded by chronic self-doubt. For you, it’s important to be able to look optimistically at a situation that deserves optimism.
You are probably too unsure about your current position to have expressed proper gratitude to your boss and co-workers. When you have a good situation at work you should let people know you appreciate them. And, you should let happiness about your job shine though during the day. Your office is a nice place to be, in part, because the people are happy. You should contribute to this atmosphere by letting people know that you are happy, too.
Also, take time to learn from your boss, who seems to be very good at managing you. Few people get the chance to work for someone who cares about their career as much as your boss cares about yours. Watch what she does so that you can give people you manage the same level of support and respect.
Finally, make sure you have a clear vision of where you want to go next. You’re in a good position to get what you want out of your career, but first you have to know what you want. One of the keys to ensuring a successful career is to have a mentor. So talk to your human resources department (or your boss, if it’s a small company) about hooking you up with a mentor. It sounds like you work at the sort of company that would be happy to provide this service.