If you are happy with your income, employer, and opportunity for career development, read no further. Consider yourself fortunate and be thankful. If you feel there is definite room for improvement, however, then I encourage you to read on.
The 2008/2009 Salary.com job satisfaction survey found that the majority (65%) of ALL American workers admitted to passively or actively looking for a new job. Those who rated themselves as very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their current jobs were as follows: 45% of Baby Boomers, 42% of GenXers, and 35% of GenYers. Some surely felt they were in dead end jobs or working for employers who were struggling. Perhaps some saw little opportunity for personal development or increased income. And many were most definitely concerned about reorganizations, downsizing trends, and other turmoil within their industries.
The economy has improved since the date of this survey, but longitudinal surveys have shown job satisfaction trending downward for the last 20 years. Given the negative factors present in today’s society and workplace, it seems to me that the reported levels of job dissatisfaction are justified.
However, here’s the good news: No matter where your career is currently registering on the Career SuckoMeter, you can most definitely improve your situation greatly. Let’s examine how….
My previous post offered a process to help you determine “what you want to be when you grow up”, so you could better match yourself to professions. That exercise was a great first step toward achieving more career satisfaction. Choosing a profession, as mentioned before, can establish the foundation of your personal brand.
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Additionally, it is important to realize that your personal brand is associated with your actual job/title, your employer’s reputation, and the rep of your industry. In this article, I want to encourage you to GO FURTHER and examine additional factors that may be affecting your career happiness – your choice of job, employer, and industry.
As noted in the fourth chapter of my career book Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!):
In prior decades, one of America’s industries might go through significant changes over a period of 3-5 years. Today, we are seeing multiple industries experiencing major changes during such intervals.
Examples of industries that have experienced major global turbulence in the past decade include telecommunications, residential/commercial real estate, music, and publishing. This trend can be anticipated to continue and expand ….
Consider my own career example…
After 25+ years of career growth in telecommunications, the industry tanked during the 2001 recession and my employer cut 40% of the workforce in one day. Being a part of the 40%, I assessed the situation and decided it could be many years before telecommunications would experience a full recovery… if ever. I was faced with the prospect of having greatly reduced career and income opportunities or switching industries. I chose the latter, which led me to the growth industry of career consulting.
I made a change for the better. So can you!
To help you gain clarity regarding the potential benefits of a job, employer, or industry change, I encourage you to create a list as follows:
1. Jot down three things that cause you the most dissatisfaction with your current job.
2. Jot down three things that cause you the most dissatisfaction with your current employer.
3. Jot down three things that cause you the most dissatisfaction with your traditional industry.
Once you have completed your list, ask yourself if the potential benefits of changing one or more of these three factors would be worth the effort. If so, you now have a FOCUS for taking action.
Although career satisfaction is becoming rarer, it is well within your power to make positive changes and improve your individual circumstances. You can control your destiny. Thousands of people are doing this every day. If you are ready for a change, then I encourage you to “just say no” to career dissatisfaction and take decisive action. Now.
Richard Kirby is an executive career consultant, speaker on career strategies, and author of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!). Richard Kirby’s earlier experience includes managing engineering, human resources, marketing and sales teams for employers that ranged from a Fortune 100 to a VC-funded entrepreneurial startup. For the past 11 years at Executive Impact, Richard has helped hundreds of executives and professionals successfully navigate today’s transformed 21st century job market and achieve better employment for themselves. Richard’s expertise includes career assessments and goal setting, personal marketing/branding, resume enhancement, strategic networking and job interviewing, and “contrarian” job search methodologies. He is a Board Certified Coach (in career coaching) and a Certified Management Consultant (recognized by the ISO).