There’s a popular Confucius quote — ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’. While there may be some truth to it, you can’t entirely agree with the statement.
In reality, the idea of being fulfilled by your job goes way beyond just liking your career path. Heck, who’s to even say that the career path that you love today will capture your heart forever and always?
People change, and so do their interests and hobbies. However, despite whichever job you may be in, the goal is to always move ahead on the career ladder.
And while there is a cliché that the definition of success looks different for every person, you can still pinpoint a few attributes of a booming, successful career — fulfilment, happiness, satisfaction, respect, friendship, and security, are just some of them.
The first step of assessing your value at a company is by finding out where you stand at your current job. So if you’re interested in measuring your impact, you can begin by quantifying a few tangibles and intangibles, and by asking the right questions.
Let's dive in and take a look at the questions that will guide you in measuring career success.
Do I really like my work or am I just hanging on?
Although this one may seem a bit obvious, it’s still an imperative question to ask — do you really like the work you do, or do you just like the idea of it? Passion is something that drives all of us to be the better version of ourselves.
So if passion and zeal are not there for the work you do, then maybe it’s time to consider the possibility that you don’t enjoy your job as much as you thought you did. Think a little about how your days are spent.
Do you wake up energized and happy, ready to take on a new challenge, or would you rather be doing anything else? Okay, yes, most of us would rather be doing anything else other than working at our day jobs so here’s a better question — do you feel yourself dreading every work day?
If so, then your best bet is to look for a new job. And if you do end up making that switch, then you’ll be doing yourself a favour. Because if you like the work that you do, then you’ll thrive at it too. If you’re yet unsure that a job switch is the right decision for you, then you can take a small test which will help you arrive at a conclusion.
Am I growing or stagnating?
Growth is an applicable factor to measure success both in professional and personal lives. And while there may be some confusion between growth and change, these two ideas are not the same. Change can move in many directions, whereas growth only makes you go forward.
So look for areas where career growth matters to you — it could mean a promotion, or a salary hike, or networking with coworkers, or climbing the career ladder, or even something like getting out of your comfort zone — it could be anything you want it to be.
It may be difficult to know if you’ve been growing in your career or if you’re sitting right where you started (mostly because we’re afraid of the answer ourselves), but these seven career path exercises will help you arrive at a definitive answer. Another easy way to measure career growth is to begin by comparing where you came from and where you are now.
Let your employer know what growth means to you, because chances are, they’d benefit from knowing too. Case in point: According to a Harvard study, 94% of employees said that they’d stay at the company longer if employers invested in their careers.
How valued are my voice, skills, and competencies?
The impact you make at an organisation is a huge telling factor as to how much you’re valued at that organisation. Knowing that your voice is heard, your skills are appreciated, and your competencies are revered at the place of your work can truly make even a dull job feel like it's full of life.
And while it may be hard to pinpoint the occasions where you made a positive impact at your current job, you can ask certain questions that will help you arrive at a conclusion. For example:
- Are my opinions and suggestions taken into consideration?
- Do I feel respected at my job?
- Do my coworkers often ask for my input?
- Would the work that I do be the same without my contribution in the mix?
- Are my team members influenced by my ideas?
Are your answers positive (except for question D, obviously)? Well, then you’ve made a great impact at your job!
Am I being rewarded my true worth?
Salaries play a critical role for both companies and employees. And although money may not be the only deciding factor when it comes to being rewarded at a job, there’s no denying that it definitely plays a huge part.
And for valid reasons too. You’ve got bills to pay, places to see, food to eat, a family to feed, and whatever else you want to spend your hard earned cash on. On the flip side, paying you your worth results in better outcomes for employers too. You’re motivated and happy, your productivity levels are at an all time high, you feel rewarded for your work, you bring considerable skillstes to the table, and you’re bound to stay longer at a job where the salary meets your expectations.
P.S: If you’re wondering what your true worth is (in terms of salary), then this resource might be of great help!
Have I built valuable relationships?
Relationships are the building blocks that help you go far and wide in your career. There’s no better network than your peer network for helping you in career advancement. So it goes without saying that building these relationships is an important and valuable asset.
Aside from the fact that such a network can impact future opportunities, it can also affect the way you function at your current job, too. For example, if your boss is particularly cranky some days, then you’ve got your coworkers to lean on; or if a client presentation goes poorly, then you can share your pain with team members.
But, here comes the question of the century: how do I know if I’ve built valuable relationships at work? Surely, with office politics involved, I don’t know who’s my true friend and who is playing the game. The answer is simple — there are four factors on which you can based your evaluation of office friendships:
- trust (do your teammates have your back?)
- respect (do they ask for your opinions and advice?)
- inclusion (do you feel included in conversations, or is it all just polite talk?)
- open communication (can you communicate with them without any fear of being judged?)
We understand that every work relationship is different, but these four questions are the structures of a healthy relationship — professional or otherwise. Unfortunately, if your answer is no to even a single question on the list, then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your friendships.
Do I have stability?
Let’s be real: no one wants to live with crippling anxiety about being made redundant. And no one wants to worry about not having enough skills or a solid network despite years at a job.
There may be no particular tool or resource to measure stability in people’s lives (mostly because it is so subjective that it looks different for every person), but the fact remains that everyone needs job security and stability, and any place with a good company culture helps employees achieve both these goals.
They do this by fostering communication between their team members, so that they can build a helpful network amongst themselves. They also encourage career growth and give room to new opportunities, so that their employees can learn new skills every step of the way.
While it is critical to understand your self worth and define success on your own terms, you
should also keep in mind that every job requires some degree of flexibility. What looks like career growth at one organisation may look like something else at another.
So, to grow into your potential and to access as many opportunities as possible, try to remain as open-minded and flexible as you can. And, who knows, you may stumble upon the job of a lifetime!
Build better frameworks to measure career growth
Wanting to measure your career success is the first step to actually achieving your career goals. So, if you’ve reached the end of this article, then there’s good news for both you and your employer.
For you, it means that you’re ready to elevate yourself and grow in your career path. And for your employer, it means that they can rely now on a software which accurately measures employee growth so that they don’t have to do the number crunching themselves.
At Progression, we can help companies understand what career growth can look like for their employees. We do this by providing systematic frameworks that allow people to track their growth over time.
It beats wrestling with an overgrown spreadsheet, and provides data-rich insights which push employers to give promotions, increments, and career advancements to the right people, at the right time. Check out our tools for measuring and managing your growth, or read more about us here.