Consider Your Job Satisfaction


Consider Your Job Satisfaction
© Alberto Andrei Rosu

Best Practices

Perhaps you have friends or colleagues that have participated in the Great Resignation. Maybe you are being called back to the office and are concerned about the lifestyle change. Or perhaps you are not pleased with the pace of recent salary increases or promotions. If any of these situations apply to you, you may be thinking about whether to find another job. Here are my thoughts on the key questions you should be asking as you ponder this major decision.

Is this company a good long-term fit for me?

Consider whether the company you are working for is successful and positioned well in its industry. Review the company financial outlooks and attend any meetings in which management reports quarterly results. Is the company improving or at least maintaining its competitive position in the marketplace? Does the company have a long-term plan and strategies underlying that plan? Are these plans resourced, and do they feel realistic?

Next, I would give further thought to whether the company culture is in line with your personal values and preferences. Culture encompasses a wide range of things both stated and unstated. It includes formal policies, such as dress code, vacation policies, performance reviews, pay scales and bonuses, and the like. It also covers more subtle aspects, such as how people are treated, what personal characteristics are valued and eschewed, what college degrees or job experiences are rewarded and attitudes toward risk. Does the company culture make you feel proud and optimistic or worried and uncomfortable?

If you are satisfied with the company’s prospects for the long term and with the company culture and atmosphere, then that is a good foundation from which to consider your personal position in the company.

Am I positioned for success in this company?

First, you have to define what “success” means to you. Do you aspire to be in top management? Or do you just want a secure job with good long-term pay prospects? Do you want to work abroad, or do you want to avoid any relocation due to family preferences and needs? Are you a deep knowledge worker in a specialty field that is valued by the company, such as a PhD in material sciences? Or are you someone who is looking to get experience in various parts of the organization to determine where your passion lies, or to position yourself for management jobs?

Once you have thought about the meaning of success for you, consider whether your current company has a view of your future that is consistent with your own aspirations. If you are very early in your career, this may be hard to do; however, think about the signals, messages and deliverables from the company thus far.

  • Signals: Does the company invite you to important functions and meetings? Are you asked to participate in task forces and committees? Is your input solicited both within and outside your area of responsibility? Are you sought out as a mentor for others? 
  • Messages: Are your performance reviews largely positive or even glowing? If your company has an employee rating system, are you in the top few categories? Do you receive regular positive feedback from your supervisor? Have you gotten any formal letters of recognition or awards?
  • Deliverables: Have you received promotions, and is your status comparable to others of similar experience? Are you happy with your pay and benefits package? Have you been given opportunities to work in other departments to broaden your resume?

Consider carefully whether there appears to be a good match between your view of yourself and the company’s view, as depicted in the signals, messages and deliverables provided. If there seems to be an inconsistency, take some action. If your performance reviews are not great, pay close attention to the areas noted as deficient and work to improve in those areas. If you are not being presented opportunities to broaden your resume, have a conversation with your supervisor. Try volunteering for task forces and committees rather than waiting to be appointed. At company meetings be proactive and visible; ask a few good questions and participate actively in breakout sessions. If you feel like you have taken all of these actions for a period of time and you are still not feeling sufficiently valued, it may be time to investigate other options.

Could I achieve more or faster success elsewhere?

If you feel like you have taken all of these actions for a period of time and you are still not feeling sufficiently valued, it may be time to investigate other options.

This is obviously a difficult question, but you can break this down into a consideration of the industry, the company, the environment and you.

The oil, lubricants and additives industries are likely to be at best low growth industries over the next ten years. On the bright side, these are essential industries as long as internal combustion vehicles are around. If you are considering a move into a completely different industry, consider carefully the growth prospects in that industry. Even companies like Amazon and Google can have periods of lower growth and layoffs, and are subject to significant technological change.

With regard to the company, consider whether you are moving to a stronger company with a better balance sheet, more robust long-term plans and superior competitive positioning in their industry.

The timing of making a job move is important as well. The current economic environment seems rather unclear; inflation is high, and that is driving the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, which in turn is slowing parts of the economy (such as housing) down. Conversely, the job market seems robust and unemployment is low, although many of the open jobs may be lower paying ones. Before you make a job change, consider how these economic undercurrents will affect your future industry and company. Ask questions of any prospective company about how the economic cycle has affected them in the past and how it may affect them going forward.

Finally, and most importantly, consider your own personal feelings. It doesn’t hurt to investigate outside options if you are not happy with your company or your situation within it. At a minimum you will acquire a better understanding of outside opportunities. Before you make the change, review the key questions in this article and make your best decision!  

Sara Lefcourt of Lefcourt Consulting LLC specializes in helping companies to improve profits, reduce risk and step up their operations. Her experience includes many years in marketing, sales and procurement, first for Exxon and then at Infineum, where she was vice president, supply. Contact her at or (908) 400-5210.

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