Do you feel like your heart’s just not in your work? You’re not alone – a recent employee survey found that only 14 per cent of Aussie workers are emotionally engaged in their jobs, which means a whopping 86 per cent are not.
One reason you could be feeling this way is because your job doesn’t align with who you are as a person, which is fundamental to long-term work satisfaction, says psychologist and career expert Suzie Plush.
“We often end up in careers that aren’t actually suited to our personality type or interests,” Plush explains. “When I chat to a client, they might know deep down what their innate strengths are, but they don’t have the confidence to tune into that.”
This simple quiz will get you on the road to professional satisfaction …
1 Which of these scenarios make you feel most like yourself?
A: When I am with my family and friends.
B: When I am taking charge of a situation.
C: When I am creating something new.
D: When I am figuring out how something difficult works.
2 Which of these statements reflect a meaningful career to you?
A: I’ve made long-lasting and meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients.
B: I’ve brought about change in my industry and am respected by others.
C: I’ve helped others and made a difference.
D: I’ve used my skills in the best way I can.
3 If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do about work?
A: I’d take some time off to be with friends and family and then consider my options.
B: I’d take on a new venture or project that requires extra capital.
C: I’d volunteer or work for a cause I feel passionate about.
D: I’d keep using my skills in a paid or unpaid capacity – I couldn’t not work.
4 What traits in people do you find most difficult to work with?
A: Self-centredness: people who are only out for number-one.
B: Rigid thinking: someone who is stuck in past ways of doing things.
C: Unimaginative: someone who doesn’t value beauty or creativity.
D: Unpredictability: someone who’s always changing the rules.
5 In a typical work meeting, what are you most likely to be doing?
A: Chatting about non-work stuff and finding it hard to concentrate.
B: Facilitating the meeting and allotting tasks to others.
C: Taking notes so I can remember what I and the rest of the team have to do.
D: Figuring out the practical applications of what’s being discussed.
6 Which of these tasks would make you feel most satisfied?
A: Taking part in a team-building exercise that gets me and everyone else out of their comfort zone.
B: Speaking at a seminar as a leader in my field.
C: Helping a colleague find a creative solution to a work problem.
D: Completing a successful project.
7 How would you hate to be thought of by your work colleagues?
8 When it comes to your job, what would make you most unhappy?
A: Doing the same tasks every day.
B: Not being able to use my initiative or create change.
C: Disappointing others.
D: Not being able to solve a problem.
9 If a child asked you what’s important in life, you would reply …
A: Connecting with others and building great relationships.
B: Making your mark in the world.
C: Being kind and doing good.
D: Solving problems and making the world work better.
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What your score means…
Mostly A’s: The social networker
“You love socialising and spontaneity but you’re also helpful and empathetic,” explains Plush. “You’d be great at PR, marketing, travel related work, customer service – anything that has strong human contact.”
“If you want to change jobs but can’t immediately, embrace your sociability by organising team lunches and parties, and keep things varied at work by seeking input from outside teams.”
Mostly B’s: The natural leader
“You are great at making decisions and solving problems – you’re logical and objective, but you can also can be strategic,” says Plush.
Ideal careers would be in managing people or business operations, or running your own business. You’ll be unhappy at work if your boss is incompetent or is capping your own talents. To boost your work satisfaction, carve out some responsibility with your own project.
Mostly C’s: The creative helper
“You may not seek the limelight but you have a strong desire to help, or perhaps you’re naturally creative,” says Plush. “Because you’re reflective, insightful, flexible and very empathetic, you are drawn to roles that advise or counsel, as well as ones involving writing, designing and creating.” If you can’t change jobs right now, carve out some time for quiet reflection or a creative hobby
Mostly D’s: The practical whiz
“You’re conscientious, practical and detail oriented,” says Plush. “You could be drawn to hands-on work as a plumber or electrician, or work such as policy planning, accounting or administration.”
You’ll be unhappy if your workplace doesn’t have strong systems in place, so create as much structure around you as possible, and if you can’t leave your job now, learn a new skill to keep you satisfied until you can.