With 2016 behind us, it’s a great time to take stock.  Maybe you already do this and have spent some time over the holidays looking back at your life over the last year, noting what you’re proud of and identifying what you want to continue to work on in the New Year.

If you are in that camp, BRAVO!  For myself, I have to say there may have been two or three years in my life when I think I did that effectively.

A year is just too long for me to remember, so I try to do the taking stock thing more regularly.  The thought of looking back over a whole year makes me nervous.  Did I use my time wisely or did I never get to that goal that I said a year ago was really important to me?  I’m just not even sure I want to know.  But there is one important exception.

Your Annual Job Review

The year mark is actually perfect timing to reflect on your job, your career and consider your options.  Early in my career, I discovered that the year-end timing of the review can be a perfect reminder to turn the tables and review myself, the job and my employer.

I learned this technique from a boss who was clearly overwhelmed and emotionally challenged with the performance review process.  Near the end of our first year together, he said, “Here’s what I want you to do.  I want you to take this form and fill it out for yourself.”  It was pages long and had sections to describe various areas of my performance and rate it on a 10 point scale in every category.  Was he kidding?  No, he was not.  He was a guy who had figured out, with seven direct reports, how to save himself a lot of time.

I did what he asked for three years. He never changed a word and he never altered a rating.  I usually did very well and got a nice bonus J.

Along the way, I learned that the process of reviewing myself gave me a great opportunity to ask important questions about how I was doing, whether the job was working for me, and what else I needed to achieve my goals.  From then on, I decided to take that approach every year through boss changes and job changes right up until the present.  I do that by asking myself ten questions.

10 Questions To Ask About Your Job

  1. Do I have the resources to get my job done with excellence?  This means looking at technology, staffing & budget.
  2. Do I have a good working network of interpersonal connections within the organization?  This means looking at who you know and whether you have support for accomplishing your work objectives.
  3. Do I have a champion?  This means identifying someone or two people within your organization who believe in you and your work.
  4. Does my work have an impact that is measurable? If you can’t measure your contribution to the organization and the difference you make, that’s a red flag.
  5. How does my work contribute to the core mission of the organization? If your role isn’t directly connected to the core mission of the business that’s okay, but you should have certainty that it is valued as important to achieving corporate goals.
  6. Are my personal values and the corporate mission aligned?  If not, you may find yourself uncomfortable and at odds with decisions you don’t control.
  7. Do I have friends here?  This factor has been found by the Gallup Organization’s Employee Engagement Survey to be critical to our job satisfaction.
  8. Can I get help when I have a problem?  Do you feel you are working in a vacuum, or do you have people you can call on when you get stuck?
  9. Am I challenged?  Do you have opportunities to learn and grow?  It’s critical that you keep your skills up-to-date, not just for yourself, but so you can offer exceptional performance for your employer.
  10. How do I feel about coming to work every day?  What is your gut saying?  This gets at the impact of a negative work environment, a bad boss, or unpleasant co-workers.  Don’t ignore this!

At a staff meeting years ago a co-worker remarked, as we began the “good news” wrap up, that she was happy that she no longer felt she had to talk herself out of the car in the morning.  Well, that got everyone’s attention!

If you feel even close to that way about your job – make 2017 the year you make a change.