How happy are you with your career? It can often be hard for us to pin down what might be bothering us about our work.
The Career Balance Wheel (left) is a very effective tool to help you assess how happy you are with the different elements of your work. Draw the wheel (left) on a piece of paper (or download it here) and divide each segment in to 10 sections by drawing 9 smaller circles inside the larger circle. Label each segment with the headings listed below (if these are not relevant to your job, then please substitute them accordingly). Use a scale of 1 to 10, to rate your level of satisfaction with each area of your work: 1 is low (mark it down towards the centre of the wheel) and means that you’re not at all happy about that particular area, and 10 is as good as it gets (mark right on the outer edge).
- Use favourite skills
- Working relationships
- Learning and development
- Flexible working
- Control over workload
- Support from manager/supervisor
- Fit with corporate culture
What does your wheel look like? Maybe your salary is pretty good and you gave it a 7 or 8 rating. Perhaps you have reasonably good working relationships, so you rate those as a 6, but you have no control over your workload and feel overwhelmed, so rated this area as a 1 or 2? How balanced is your wheel, if you put it on a car or bike – how bumpy would the ride be? Once you have rated each area, take a look at the 3 segments that you rated the lowest. In each of these areas list 3 things that you can do NOW that will make the biggest difference in your current situation.
Then Take Action – NOW! This will help you make some immediate changes that will boost your level of satisfaction with your current job/role.
Now take a deeper look. How are you’re overall scores? Do they generally average high, midway, or low? If they’re generally high, then making the changes you outlined above will bring up your overall scores and you’ll continue to enjoy your work. If however they’re averaging in the mid range 4-6 or lower, then it’s likely that whilst the changes above will improve your current situation – more drastic action is needed. It could be that you’re in the wrong role in your current organisation, that you’re in the right role but in the wrong organisation, or that you’re pursuing a career that’s not really right for you and a complete change of direction is needed.
Whichever situation you’re in, the most important thing is to make a decision to do something about it – NOW! It’s easy for years to drift by doing something you don’t really enjoy just to pay the bills, but life’s too short – right? We spend more time at work in our lifetime than doing any other singular thing, so here at Move Beyond we absolutely believe that whatever you do as your work, to earn a living, it’s crucial that it’s something you enjoy. Don’t settle! Life really is too short and it’s too late when you look back in 10-20 years and think: If only…
“Work isn’t something to pass the time so you can pay the bills. It’s a gift and a spectacular way to access your brilliance and contribute…”
~ Nick Williams
A good way to start find what you need to change is by looking at your scores on the wheel you created. What do you really want? Taking into account your skills, what interests you, and the kind of working arrangements and work life balance you want. By looking at what you value in your life and work, you can start to explore options that are the right fit for you, rather than looking around in too many directions and feeling overwhelmed by choice. Many of us often talk ourselves out of change because we lack confidence, and self beliefs, so make sure you spend some time focusing on your successes and all the things you have achieved along the way too.
Most importantly though, make that decision to do what needs to be done to move towards a more enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding career and work life today!