We live in a time where unemployment numbers are at historic lows. That means that there's never been a better time to land a job. Now, I understand that things change over time. The numbers might have flipped by the time you read this. But no matter what the macroeconomic climate looks like, it always make sense to evaluate whether you're actually doing a job that you both enjoy and are good at.
A simple visual aid you can use to help you assess whether you have the perfect job or, perhaps to ponder if it's time to look for another. Consider this chart with four quadrants: whether you're good or bad at your job and whether you like your job or if you love it. You can give yourself some great career advice simply by finding where your current job fits on the chart. Let me explain.
Quadrant 1: You love your job and you're good at it.
Congratulations: you've reached nirvana! Being good at your job and loving what you do is a place that everyone wants to be. You're happy to get out of bed in the morning and you have a purpose in what you do, whether that's making money, doing something intellectually stimulating, or doing good in the world. And your performance at your job is outstanding based on objective measures and based on the evaluations of your boss, customers, and partners. You're what I would call an A player. The good news is when you love your job and are good at it, the money tends to follow.
Quadrant 2: You love your job but you're not good at it.
When you love your job but you've been told you need to improve at what you do, you should look at it as an opportunity for personal development. The good news is that you already love what you do and should be willing to invest the time to get good. Now it's time to very intentional and to develop the skills--both personal and technical--that you need to excel at your job. Create a plan that will help you move into Quadrant 1 in the next year--and you'll be even happier as a result.
Quadrant 3: You're good at your job, but you don't like what you do.
This is a tough place to be. You know you're good at what you do, but you just don't get the energy, fulfillment, or the sense of enjoyment out of it. We see this is a lot in sales people; folks that are really good at selling, but they just don't like what they have to sell or their contributions aren't appreciated. The good news is that if you have marketable skills, you can move into a new job--or even a new industry--in pursuit of a better fit. I know this from personal experience. Early in my career, I was in sales and marketing in the printing industry. I was good at my job, but I just couldn't get excited about printing. Plus, I knew the industry as a whole was in decline. So I decided to make the jump into the electronics field--which was exploding at the time. That helped me move from Quadrant 3 into Quadrant 1 where I both excelled at my work and had a blast doing it.
Quadrant 4: You're not good at your job, and you don't like what you do.
You might laugh at this quadrant, but trust me, there are millions of people who go to work every day who this applies to. Just think back to the last time you experienced poor service in a restaurant where the waiter or waitress was obviously not excited to be there and, maybe as a result, delivered poor performance as well. We know that some people get trapped in bad jobs because of economic imperatives or other factors. At the same time, there are people that spend all the working hours thinking of a place they'd rather be--which means they are completely disengaged during all those hours they spend at work. But life is short. Why should you waste the time God gave you doing something that is so clearly a poor fit for you--especially at a time when jobs are plentiful. It's time to make the leap and find a job that you will enjoy and that fits you skills. The amazing thing is that if you can do this, you'll immediately wonder why you didn't do it sooner.
So, make the time to reflect which quadrant you're in. Then, build up the courage to think about how you can get from whatever quadrant you're in all the way up to quadrant 1. You're dream job is out there. It's time to stop the excuses and make the jump. Trust me, you'll thank me for it later.