New Year, New Role? Eight Items to Consider When Contemplating a Career Change
By Rod McDermott & Hayley Miller
Now that we’ve entered into February, our New Year’s resolutions have begun to waver and our life and career goals have started to take a backseat to our day-to-day responsibilities. That’s why now is an important time to reflect on your career satisfaction. Whether or not you’re having concerns about your job, it is essential to reflect on your employment to ensure you are truly satisfied with your role. Below are eight items to consider when you are analyzing your level of job satisfaction and considering making a move.
- Contribution to the company
At the executive level, it’s even more important to assess your individual level of contribution to the company. Do you feel that you are making a significant impact in your role? If not, it’s key to focus on why. Are you making an active effort to consistently propose new concepts and ways for the company to improve? Are these concepts being heard and/or implemented? If they’re not, it may be time to consider if another company would be more receptive to your ideas.
According to the recent 2015 SHRM Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report, financial compensation has been one of the top contributors to job satisfaction since 2002 (SHRM, 2015). As an executive, it’s essential to know where you stand in relation to other executives in your field. How does your pay compensation relate in comparison to those around you? If you feel you are not being fairly compensated, approach your board members/ stakeholders with why you believe you should be granted a pay increase. If they’re not responsive, that’s a key indicator that your company may not be the best fit for you.
- Relationships with direct supervisor and reports
Work relationships, including your connection with your direct supervisor and reports, are a large contributing factor to job satisfaction. When analyzing your relationships with your reports, take a moment for self-reflection. If you’re not receiving the results you would like from your team, ask yourself (and more importantly, ask your reports!) what you can do to improve. Positive and respectful treatment in the workplace was the #1 important factor for job satisfaction for all employees in 2014. As an executive, not only do you need to both garner and show respect to your team, you also need respect from board members and stakeholders. If you find yourself in a situation where you regularly feel that your opinions are disregarded, a conversation needs to be had.
- Job security
Another top contributing factor to job satisfaction is job security. As an executive, it’s important to feel confident in your position, as that gives one the confidence to make key decisions for the future of the company. Have you had the opportunity to speak with decision makers about the status of the company and its direction? Where does the company stand financially? Clear expectations can help you make the best decision as to whether you need to make a career change.
- Respect for thoughts and ideas
In a similar vein to having respectful relationships with your direct supervisors, it is critical that your stakeholders and board members respect your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas. As an executive, in order for you to succeed in making a positive and significant impact, the leaders of the company need to trust in your decision-making skills and allow you to put your thoughts into action. A lack of support from stakeholders and board members is a red flag that you will not be able to successfully achieve the job you were hired to do.
- Clear direction and goals from shareholders and board members
Have the board of directors and shareholders made the direction of the company and their goals clear? In your role, it’s your goal to ensure that management and employees know the specific direction of the company. Make sure you know exactly what path the company would like to take so you can clarify it to your employees and effectively execute the strategy.
- Job expectations
Oftentimes, the role you were hired for ends up not being the role you’re currently in or the position you originally sought. You were hired due to your specific and unique skillset and exemplary leadership ability. Are you utilizing your skills? Has the job description changed negatively from when you first joined the company? If you’re not utilizing the skills you had hoped and the company will not allow you to do so, finding a company and role that matches your expectations is worth considering.
Benefits have long been correlated with a high level of job satisfaction. While health benefits and a healthy work-life balance are very important for all employees, executives also have specific benefits that are key to career gratification. For C-Level executives, offerings such as a flexible schedule and professional/career development benefits are of particular importance. A company that doesn’t offer networking opportunities, a path for professional development, or the freedom to pursue individual professional interests will significantly decrease your level of satisfaction.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is having expectations match reality. Take time to focus on whether your job is truly the one you originally desired. It’s easy to become bogged-down with daily responsibilities, so much so that you forget what you originally sought. What do you want out of your job? What will bring you the most job satisfaction?