Some of my clients tell me they are “pretty satisfied” in their careers. Something might be missing, but overall they feel “okay” about their current job. In most of these cases, my clients aren’t doing exactly what they thought they would be doing on a day-to-day basis.
Does this sound like you? While your job has a specific list of responsibilities attached to it, you may find yourself doing more of the ones you don’t care for and less of the responsibilities that you enjoy. For example, as a career coach, some of my colleagues enjoy researching current employment data, while others love the writing aspect. Some career coaches enjoy the 1:1 coaching and others enjoy educating a larger group of individuals via a workshop or conference. All of those may be responsibilities of a career coaching position but every career coach will enjoy some more than others.
If you fall into the my-job-is-okay category, consider doing the following exercise: draw a circle on a piece of paper and create different sections of your pie to represent your responsibilities. For example, if you spend 40% of your day doing research, make your slice about 40% of the pie. If you spend 20% of your day solving customer issues, then make that piece a 20% slice, and so on. This is your Job Pie.
Once you have filled in 100% of your Job Pie, detailing out all of your current responsibilities, draw another empty circle below it. Now create an ideal Job Pie. Given the same responsibilities, what would this job look like… ideally? Using the example from above, would the research slice be so big? How much would take from one slice and give to others?
Once you complete the ideal Job Pie, compare the two. Where are the big differences? Now consider discussing this with your manager. Is there a way to adjust those slices so that it is closer to the ideal? Perhaps there is another employee in the same role as you who would rather take on more research?
There may be some short-term fixes that can improve the distribution of your work activities. Of course, the reality may be that changes are long-term. However, by asking the question, you are actively managing your career. You are working to get your job to a place where it is satisfying for you and meets the needs of your employer.