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10 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Job

10 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Job

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    Take a moment for a reality check.  Ask yourself these questions – how many positive answers do you get?

    1. Is what I do really worthwhile? In other words: Does my work make a difference to people?  Does it help people?  Am I adding something of value to the world?  Doing something worthwhile makes us feel worthwhile and can compensate for other shortcomings in the position.

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    2. Do I enjoy my job? Do you you get a buzz from what you do?

    3. Am I learning? If you are still developing and learning in the job then it is an investment of your time.  If you have stopped learning and are repeating experiences then it may be time for a change.

    4. Does this job lead to somewhere I want to go? Is this experience useful in preparing you for something else you might want to do?

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    5. Am I well paid? On an objective assessment are you fairly compensated for what you contribute?

    6. Do I get on with my boss? A difficult boss can make your time at work miserable.  If you answer this question “no”, then see the article ‘What to do if you do not get on with your boss.’

    7. Do I get on with my colleagues? A good social environment and friendly workmates can make up for many other problems at work.

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    8. Am I empowered to be creative and do things my way? This is more important for some people than others.  Does it matter for you?

    9. Is my work/life balance acceptable? Most people would like more time with their families but work is demanding so they accept some kind of balance.  Are you getting at least the minimum free time you need to live your life?

    10. Is my job title prestigious? This really matters to some people but is irrelevant to others.  Do you feel proud when you tell people where you work and what you do?

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    The more yes answers the better. How many did you get? Now rank the questions in importance for you.  For some people doing something really worthwhile is most important while others place greater value on working with friends in a sociable atmosphere.  Compare the yes answers and the no answers. Do the positive answers outweigh the negatives in number and importance?  For example it might be fine to work in a low paid job if it is important to you that you gain the right experience.

    If you have few positive answers and they are not in your top priorities then you should do some soul-searching about what you really want out of life and whether it is time to look for a better job.

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on August 4, 2020

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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    1. Value Your Time

    Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

    2. Know Your Priorities

    Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

    For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

    3. Practice Saying No

    Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

    4. Don’t Apologize

    A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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    5. Stop Being Nice

    Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

    Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

    6. Say No to Your Boss

    Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

    But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

    7. Pre-Empting

    It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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    “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

    8. Get Back to You

    Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

    “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

    At least you gave it some consideration.

    9. Maybe Later

    If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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    “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

    Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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