Two career questions everyone should ask

Are you unhappy at work? Are you struggling to figure out why you are unhappy? Often when we are unhappy it’s hard to figure out why because unhappiness colors our view and makes everything seem awful. If you are struggling with career unhappiness, and you can’t see the metaphoric forest from the trees may I suggest making it very simple- just ask yourself these two questions.

Question 1- Do you like your job? (Meaning the actual work you do, your day-to-day job, your tasks, the projects that take up most of your time and your chief responsibilities.)

If you answered YES, then move on to Question 2.

If you answered, “Well, I like my job BUT I am overwhelmed and it’s tough to do my job because I am so busy and I really would like it better if there wasn’t so many projects.” That answer albeit long winded and full of excuses is still YES and you need to also move onto Question 2.

If you answered NO, it’s pretty simple you don’t like your job and that is quite possibly the reason for your career unhappiness but please move on to question 2.

Question 2- Do you like the company you work for? (Meaning the corporate culture, the management philosophy, the products they sell, the brand and their reputation in the marketplace.)

If you answered yes to question 1 and yes to question 2, CONGRATULATIONS you are in the right job and the right company! You are most likely just going through a rough patch or the source of your unhappiness has nothing to do with your career.

If you answered Yes to question 1 and no to question 2, TAKE COMFORT that you like what you do but you just don’t like where you do it. The solution is simple accept what you can’t change about the company, continue to work there while reminding yourself that you love your job or if you can’t do that, look for the same job in a new company.

If you answered NO to both questions 1 & 2, STOP everything you are doing and start looking for what will bring you happiness. Don’t stay miserable, don’t ignore the unhappiness, don’t live life hating both what you do and where you do it. There are too many great jobs and too many great companies out there for you to be stuck in a career that makes you miserable. As Lao Tzu said, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are headed.”

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