I’ve developed a simple measurement to help rate your job and suggest a benchmark that will tell you when it’s time to look for a new position.
All you need to do is sum your ratings to four questions.
The results can range from 4 to 12. My impression is that most people will rate their job 9 on my scale, which is a very good fit that you can work to improve.
- If you score your job 12, you’re in the mythical 1%. You’ll be very hard to recruit away.
- If you score below 8, I believe you should start looking for a new job. It’s unlikely you’ll be either happy or successful in this position.
To learn how well you’re suited to your job, quickly circle the numbers that best reflects your feelings for each question.
1. How Do You Rate Your Job Function?
This is what you do every day on your job. It’s often part of your title.
3. Like the function
2. It’s OK
1. Dislike the function
Do you enjoy applying your current skills and learning more about them? Are you challenged?
Do you look forward to spending additional years in the same occupation while improving and moving up the ladder? If so, you probably gave this question a 3.
If you’re “OK” with your function, this suggests that you should use your current job as a launching pad as you move to related functions.
A “Dislike” rating requires action either within or beyond the current employer depending on how you answer the next three questions.
2. How Do You Rate Your Category?
This measurement works for both for-profit companies and not-for-profit organizations.
3. Like the Category
2. It’s OK
1. Dislike the Category
In general, people tend to rank their category higher if they emotionally buy-in to its purpose, are a heavy user, or are an early adaptor. As an example, there are “car guys” (including an increasing number of women) who shouldn’t stray beyond vehicles. I’ve worked with beer aficionados, retailers, insurance professionals, and educators. Each loved their category.
I have friends who happily worked in a single category their entire career. Others, like myself, bounced around categories because we focused on our function.
Personally, I was less concerned about the category, so I suggest launching a job search only if you truly “Dislike” your category.
3. How Do You Rate Your Company and Its Culture?
My rating for this tends to focus on people and process: How do you get things done?
3. Like the Company and Culture
2. They’re OK
1. Dislike the Company and Culture
The people measurement can be volatile as people change regularly, but the culture tends to change very slowly.
My success and happiness were tied very closely to the people I worked with as well as how well I fit the company culture.
I don’t see how anyone can be successful in their job if they don’t give this question at least an OK rating.
4. How Do You Rate Your Job for Fulfilling Your Personal Needs?
I’ve had co-workers stick with terrible companies and mediocre jobs because they provided great personal freedom. The location, hours, pay and flexibility were great. Their families were happy.
3. Like for Personal Needs
2. It’s OK
1. Dislike for Personal Needs
If you dislike the job because it simply doesn’t fit your desired lifestyle…you need to leave. The big challenge is when your job is perfect for your life, but negative on one or more of the other measurements.
Are You a Fan of Zagat?
Here’s what your job score means adapting Zagat’s rating descriptions.
Simply add your four ratings to see how well you fit your job.
- 12 = Extraordinary: Don’t leave as long as it pays a living wage.
- 11 = Extraordinary
- 10 = Excellent
- 9 = Very Good
- 8 = Very Good
- 7 = Fair: Should you really stay in this job?
- 6 = Poor: Find a new job as fast as you can
Beta Test with 3 Friends
I showed a draft of this blog to three friends who took the test, liked the questions, and thought they received an accurate assessment of their job fit. Each one, of course, had a suggestion that I think is worthy of passing on.
Friend 1: Recommends that everyone weight the questions based on what’s most important to him or her before totaling the answer.
Friend 2: Believes a five-point scale with half points would result in more nuanced scoring, although his results were identical.
Friend 3: Offered an option with only two questions:
1. Sunday night:
3. I usually look forward to going to work on Monday
2. I don’t think much about work
1. I often dread the thought of going to work on Monday
2. I think I’ll be working for the same company:
3. For at least 3 years
2. For a couple of years
1. For less than a year
He then added the two numbers, multiplied by two, and compared this number with my scale above. He found the results to be consistent.
I’ve also found that most people have a good idea when they will be leaving a job within a year, whether voluntarily or pushed.
I hope you’ll use my job test and see what it teaches you about your current job fit and see if it recommends you should change jobs. Feel free to adjust the test as suggested by my friends.