1. Does my company stand for something — anything — special?
It’s hard to be thrilled with your job if the company you work for is struggling to succeed, or feels stuck and irrelevant. I’m not talking about obvious problems — red ink and layoffs. I mean the nagging sense that the company will never be anything more than OK, just another ho-hum player in its field. In this hyper-competitive age, you can’t do great things as a company if you’re just a little better than everybody else. Does the company you work for really stand out from the crowd? If not, why on earth are you working there?
2. Am I excited to see my colleagues when I show up for work on Monday morning?
Lots of people sign on with a company because it’s got a cool reputation, or it’s prestigious, or it’s got a great stock price. But quickly you realize that “working for” a company is an abstraction. The reality is that you work with the people closest to you — those in your department, in your unit, in your region. Most experts say that over the long term, employees aren’t loyal to a company as a company. They are loyal to the people they work beside day after day. Can you imagine not spending 40 or 50 hours a week with the people you work beside every day? If so, maybe it’s time to make a move and fine a group of colleagues who stimulate you and motivate you.
3. Do I have a voice at work — does anyone who matters listen to what I say?
There’s nothing more depressing and de-motivating than feeling that you don’t matter as a person — even if you’re part of a group that’s working well in a company that’s doing fine. In this age of participation and communication, people are hungry for a say, a voice, a sense that their opinion counts. If you feel like your opinion doesn’t count, maybe it’s time to find a company where it does.
4. Am I learning as fast as the world is changing?
I first heard this question from strategy guru Gary Hamel, and I ask it of myself all the time. In a world that moves so fast, the most dangerous thing in anyone’s career is the sense that you’re standing still — that you’re not learning, that you’re not being challenged, that you’re stuck. If that’s how you feel, that’s a strong sign that it’s time to make a change.
5. Am I making enough money?
Strange as it sounds, this is the worst reason to leave a job. Virtually every study I’ve seen shows that there’s almost no connection between how much money you make and how satisfied you are with your job. There really are things that money can’t buy — and happiness at work is one of them.