How happy are you at work? These questions will give you the answer

Career advice, candidate

Do you have job satisfaction in your current role? In this post, we’re asking questions that offer a great starting point in understanding how happy you are at work right now. Your responses might reveal that a complete career change is right for you, or that you’re ready to take a smaller step, like moving to a different role internally or finding a similar job at another company. Either way, everyone deserves to feel happy and fulfilled in their work. Let’s dive in.

How positively do you feel about your job, work environment, colleagues and responsibilities?

If you’re feeling dissatisfied in your current role, it’s so easy to focus on all the things wrong with the job and get stuck in a negative rut. Take this opportunity to challenge yourself by looking for the positives. Cast your mind back to a typical working week within the last three months and note down every single good thing you can think of. Reflect on all aspects of your job including the specific work you do, your relationships with team mates, the working environment, how you’re rewarded and opportunities for progression. Throw anything positive into the mix, from how you felt on pay day, to delivering a new initiative that improved business operations.

See whether you can identify patterns between these positives; is there a connection related to people, be that the laughs you have with colleagues or gratification you get from serving clients’ needs? Or maybe there’s a link between the individual tasks you’ve enjoyed – are they creative, analytical, related to problem-solving or project management? These patterns are valuable clues that will help you to understand the career ingredients that matter most to you, and whether you can find these internally or at another company.

To what extent do you feel valued in your job?

For many of us, it’s incredibly important to understand our unique value in the workplace, as we’re motivated by a sense of purpose. Particularly in larger organisations with hundreds, or even thousands of employees, it’s easy to feel like your contribution is being diluted by the vast number of people around you. Are you clear on how your work fits into the overall company, and why your job is necessary? How often are you receiving praise for your efforts and what does that recognition look like?

One quick way of validating your worth is by informally asking a few trusted colleagues to share their feedback on your top strengths and the difference you make to the team or a project. Another exercise is to write a unique job description for your role, detailing what the job entails and the type of person required to succeed. That specification is like looking in a mirror; it’s a representation of who you are in your role. Does that evoke feelings of pride or disinterest?

When you’re not at work, how do you spend your free time?

When reflecting on your career happiness, it’s also important to consider what’s happening in your life outside of working hours, as that contributes to the bigger picture. How do you fill up your evenings and weekends? Are there any subjects you are fascinated by or repeatedly drawn to, such as a documentary or podcast genre? Do you find yourself bringing up certain topics in conversation time and time again? How about daydreaming – do you wistfully wish you could move into that one career you’ve secretly always dreamed of doing? Or perhaps you carve out time each week to work on a side project or to invest in your learning and development, because you’re not able to bring those interests to life within your current job.

While it’s not realistic to expect every single work day to bring happiness and fulfilment, if you spend every working hour wishing away the minutes until you can clock off and run back to your free-time pursuits, that’s a sure sign that something needs to change. If you derive a huge amount of pleasure from these activities, what steps can you take to integrate these into your working week? For example, could you bring any skills you’ve developed into your workplace for use on a specific project? Or consider changing industry and joining a company that’s more aligned with your passions, to help you feel part of a common tribe.

If you’re looking for career happiness, we’re here to help. As one of the UK’s leading recruitment agencies, we match thousands of people to meaningful job opportunities every year. Our expert recruitment consultants are dedicated to creating a tailored and quality experience for candidates, helping you to make the move that’s right for you, regardless of what stage you’re at in your career.

If you’re ready for a career change, browse all our job opportunities and apply for a role today!