It’s that wonderful time of year again…where we all drink eggnog and sing merry songs as we reflect on the past and make plans for the future.
It’s the perfect time for a quick career reassessment!
That’s why I’m sharing this super-fast exercise to help you determine your End-of-Year Career Fulfillment Rating. It’s a very simple tool, but helpful nonetheless. (And by the way, this is something you can do anytime, even daily if you so desire, not just at the end of the year!)
For those of you who completed the exercises in my workbook, How Nourishing Is Your Career? (available in the Career Success Library) or the extended exercises in my Build Your Professional Development Plan e-workbook, this one is basically a “lite” version of those. It’s not nearly as comprehensive and it doesn’t require the same kind of in-depth self- reflection, but it’s a great jumping off point. It’s easy and fast, and it starts the wheels turning.
Here’s how it works: The goal is simply to rate your current career fulfillment using a scale from 1 to 10, where:
- 1 = I’m totally, completely and utterly unfulfilled.
- 5 = I’m neither unfulfilled nor fulfilled.
- 10 = I’m totally, completely and utterly fulfilled! HUZZAH!
Note: You can substitute the word “fulfillment” for “satisfaction” if it’s more comfortable for you. I prefer the former, but, in this case, they’re pretty interchangeable.
You can choose a number anywhere on that scale from 1 to 10.
To choose your number, I want you to consider the totality of your current career situation. Let the good stuff push your rating up; let the bad stuff push it down. Many of us have some complicated feelings about work; so let your number float around for a while until it lands in a place that feels most right for now.
Here are a few things to consider as you ponder your number:
- The work you do
- The people you do it with and for
- The compensation you earn
- The hours you keep
- The environment you’re in
- The culture you’re a part of
- The organization you work for
- The opportunities you have
- The overall “feeling” you get at the end of the day
- Anything else that contributes or detracts from your professional experience
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of considerations, and the weight you give each individual factor may not be the same across the board. Some things may be far more important and therefore will impact your total rating more (and vice versa).
Remember this is a quick, high-level check-in type of exercise. It isn’t about doing a deep-dive analysis of what’s working, what’s not, and why. This is just a snapshot. It’s about putting a number to what you already know and feel—creating a quantifiable measurement of your current career fulfillment (or lack thereof).
ANOTHER NOTE: If you’re really struggling to figure out how you feel or if you want a deeper self-assessment process, grab one of those resources I mentioned earlier.
Once you’ve got your number, commit it to memory. This isn’t the end; it’s the starting point for your future. Next year (or possibly next month or next week) you get to reflect back and see where you are in comparison to where you were. You’ll now have a real way to measure your progress. Numbers are more tangible, and they make tracking so much more effective.
And don’t forget my favorite universal rule: “That which is tracked naturally tends to improve.”
I love this simple exercise and I actually use the “1 to 10” scale method quite frequently to quickly assess my fulfillment level in a variety of life areas, not just my career. I find that it helps me gauge the direction I’m heading—Am I moving up the scale or moving down? From there, I know where to focus my attention for self-improvement and goal setting.
If you’re interested in going a little deeper with this exercise, here are a few questions to ponder after you’ve landed on your current career fulfillment number:
1. What comprises the portion of work/your career that you find the MOST fulfilling? What things pushed your rating higher? What makes them so satisfying? How can you do or have more of those things? What will you do to savor and appreciate them more?
2. Do you have a clear vision of what a “10” actually looks like? If not, spend some time figuring that out. How can you strive for something you don’t even really know the meaning of? Quite simply, you can’t. The scale is pretty meaningless if you don’t honestly know your version of a “10.”
3. What would it take to get just 1 or 2 points higher on your scale? What small steps could make a big difference? What can you start doing NOW to make it happen?
Finally, if you’re so inclined, please share your number in the comments! I’m curious to know where you stand and why.
Personally, I’m at an 8.5 this year, which is half a point higher than last year. Some things improved, some things stayed the same. But overall, I’m feeling very content. I have great work-life balance and lots of fun (yes, FUN) projects to keep me busy. The few things that could change to push me closer to a 9 or a 10 might happen, but they might not. They simply aren’t in my control. That extra 0.5 came from realizing that and whole-heartedly accepting it.
And 8.5 is nothing to sneeze at, right? It’s actually a shade higher than what I advise people to realistically expect.
Please share your end-of-year career fulfillment rating in the comments below!