Do you ever attempt to take a comprehensive look at your own job satisfaction? Here's an adaptation of an assessment that's been used by thousands of managers over the years. For each of these statements, indicate a response from 0 (totally disagree) to 10 (totally agree). Think each item through, but don't agonize about your answers. Your first impulse is probably the best reflection of your real feelings.
___ 1. My job makes full use of my abilities.
___ 2. I get a feeling of accomplishment from my work.
___ 3. My workload is just about right—not too heavy, not too light.
___ 4. I have adequate chances for advancement within my enterprise.
___ 5. In relation to the quantity and quality of work I do, my pay and benefits are competitive and fair.
___ 6. I like and respect the people I work with, and they are usually cooperative with me.
___ 7. My job gives me enough opportunities to innovate and try out new ways of doing things.
___ 8. My job allows me to do plenty of things on my own without direct supervision.
___ 9. The work I do, and the objectives I work toward, are significant and meaningful.
___ 10. I'm proud of the job I have and the place where I work.
___ 11. My efforts and contributions on the job are adequately recognized and rewarded.
___ 12. My job provides steady employment and a secure future.
___ 13. My job gives me enough opportunities to do things for other people.
___ 14. My boss deals with people, makes decisions and handles problems in an effective, satisfying way.
___ 15. My work gives me a chance to do a number of different things.
___ 16. The conditions of my job are safe, comfortable, positive and conducive to work, and adequate to accomplish results.
What do your scores mean?
Add up and then average your score (divide the total by 16). The average score for managers who've taken this assessment in the past is usually between 5.5 and 6.
If yours was higher, you should be pleased. If it's lower, you may take it as a sign that your situation can be improved—or that your expectations need rethinking.
Whatever your average, take note of the items where you gave yourself a rating of 5 or less. Make a separate list of them, then start jotting down the things you could do—or that your boss or enterprise could do—to make improvements.
Keep working on this list until your next review, and use it then as the basis of your own performance planning. Even small changes in a couple of areas can add up to significant improvements in how you feel about your work.