“How do I know if I am sitting in the right seat of the bus?”. This question was posed by a friend of mine who was really struggling in her most recent role. She went on to tell me that when she first landed the job, there were aspects that she really loved. With each project she was assigned, she would contribute to the team, give it her best, discover new perspectives and would always take away something to be learned from the experience. In the last meeting we had together, the team was thoroughly engaged in a brainstorming session that related to an upcoming project. This ignited interest from everyone in the meeting except for her. As I would glance over at her, I could tell that she was trying to engage and find an interest in the subject. After the meeting, we talked one-on-one. She said that while everyone was sharing, she realized, as she had over the past few months, that despite her best efforts to try to be part of the creative discussion, she simply wasn’t interested. It became clearer to both of us that even though the job was rewarding in a few areas, it wasn’t enough to fulfill or inspire her passion. The role that she landed had officially become a job. If you can relate to her story and are currently in a job that you don’t love, you are not alone. According to the Gallup organization, the statistics are overwhelming, 51% of US employees are not engaged at work.
Everyone has a bad day here and there. That’s normal. It’s when the bad days begin to consistently outweigh the good days that you should pause and reflect. Before putting in your two weeks, its best to take time to reflect on your role (what you love to do) and determine if it’s becoming a job (the role has become a task that you no longer love doing).
To ensure you are sitting in the right seat of the bus, here are a few questions to reflect upon:
- Are you following your passion?
Passion is having the opportunity to do what you do best every day. When you are able do what you love, your engagement, creative powers, innovations and results prove it! As a matter of fact, when this happens, others can feel your positivity and the endless energy you possess! It’s a winning combination that fuels your purpose. Identifying your passion can be a challenging task for some people. The best way to start is by trying lots of different things. Reflect on what you enjoyed and why. Maybe a task was not enjoyable because there were lots of unknown factors. That’s great! You now know that you appreciate certainty, which can direct your passions from here on out.
- Is the organization utilizing your strengths?
It feels great to be part of a team that recognizes your strengths and leans into your expertise. When your leader and company tap into your strengths, the quality of work, along with the enjoyment of your role, increases dramatically! It is also important when joining a team to identify their strengths. If you are working in a homogenous group, your new skills can offer needed insight to the task.
- Are you given the opportunity to learn and grow?
Along with recognizing and utilizing strengths comes the development of your talents. Everyone has talents that have not yet been developed into strengths. The investment in your development is pivotal to future growth as an individual, team player and future leader for the organization. Ask you managers or team members for actionable feedback. Being liked is fine and well, but without direct criticism there is no growth.
- Do you have the congruency of values?
When values align, there is a mutual respect that is felt. It feels right when you, your team and company are in sync. When values don’t align, boundaries get crossed, buttons get pushed and the uneasiness fosters conflict. Again, this is something you will learn by doing. You may have some non-negotiables in your values. However, by flexing your skills and working in different setting you will learn what your hierarchy of values really are.
- Do you have a transformational leader?
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way,” John Maxwell. They make it a point to let you know how important you are to the team by:
- How they communicate and convey information (purpose)
- Showing they support you the way you need to be supported (care and recognition)
- Encouraging your growth and development (career development)
- Giving you the opportunity to utilize your strengths
- Ensuring team alignment with commitment to quality work
- Providing recognition and feedback consistently
A great leader’s actions will make you feel valued and will recognize your contributions. There is a difference between a true Leader an someone who leads. They will identify your strengths and utilize them. This helps the group become successful as well as the individual. This is where leaders can shine and care for their company and employees.
There are a lot of influences to consider before finding a new seat on the career bus. Answering “no” to just one of these questions is enough to cause disruption or misalignmentin your rolewhich can have a profound impact on the difference you can make.
“The moment you realize you don’t love what you do is the moment you no longer can make an impact. Life is too short to be doing something you don’t love.” Robin Bush