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January 22, 2016
New Year, New Job?
This tends to be the time of year where attrition is at its highest point in many industries. I suppose it’s New Year’s resolutions that have us setting goals for ourselves and wondering whether a career change should be among them. Before we make change for the sake of change, we must start by evaluating what matters to us. We all have a unique set of goals, objectives, and aspirations, and those, of course, inform our decisions. But we also have what matters to us in a job, in a company, and in a manager. It’s important that we give as much consideration as we can to what we’re walking (or running) away from, as what we are walking to.

Here’s a list of the five things (that’s it, just five), in no particular order, that I consider when reflecting on my work happiness. Take a look and see if they too can make you happy and motivated to show up every-day to work.

1) The people I’m surrounded by (do I generally like the people, do I have some friends?)
2) The work (is it challenging and rewarding?)
3) The company (a place I enjoy, a company I respect)
4) My manager (do I look up to them, can I learn from them?)
5) Work/life integration (can I live my life and still remain employed?)

Each of us will have a different list. You’ll notice that pay and hours aren’t a part of mine, and that’s not because they aren’t important to me, but because that’s not what personally motivates or de-motivates me. Many people move for money. It’s understandable. However, if that’s the main impetus, I encourage you to re-look at your list. I’ve never heard anyone say that they love their job because they make a lot of money. If you ask people what they love about their jobs, you will hear “the work,” “the people,” and/or “the culture.”

Now measure your current role against your five priorities. How does it stack up? And what can we reasonably expect? My expectation is not that I’ll ever be in a role where I get five out of five. And if I do, it won’t be consistent. My guideline is to work for four out of five. Sometimes three of five is fine, depending on your priorities. The point is, take the time to really consider what makes you happy and what you’re not getting in your current role. Take the time to speak to your manager about your goals, aspirations and make sure that you’re aligned. That’s on you, not your manager. Don’t wait for your performance review or any other specified timing to have that conversation. It’s important to take stock of what matters to you before you make a move. Money, title – of course. The intangibles or immeasurable qualities are often equally if not more important than the number on your paycheck. 

So, what’s your top five?

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Kristen Metzger is managing partner, people and culture, at MEC North America.
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