In cleaning out my office recently I found some notes on a conference I attended about work satisfaction and burn-out.
In those notes were a list of factors which are markers of level of employee engagement. How many of the following can you say are true?
1. I know what is expected of me at work.
2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job right.
3. I have the opportunity to do my best and focus on my strengths every day at my job.
4. In the past 7 days I have received recognition.
5. My supervisor or someone at work cares about me as a person.
6. There is someone at my work that encourages my development.
7. At work my opinions and ideas seem to count.
8. Mission or purpose of my company makes me feel like my job is important.
9. My fellow employees are committed to quality work.
10. I have a good friend at work.
11. In the last six months someone has talked to me about my progress.
12. In the last year at work I have had an opportunity to grow and learn.
I can currently claim 4 out of the 12.
There is one of them that I'm not so sure I agree with. As I have gotten older I have shifted in my expectations about friendships at work. In the past I have developed very close friendships with my peers at work. Some of the dearest friends of my 20's and 30's were people that I worked with. Now, however, I am not close to anyone at my job. Part of the reason is I don't really have peers at my current position. There is no one else working at my same level on the same project. But another reason is that I've become more compartmentalized. I have friendships in my real life outside of work. I also have good relationships with my colleagues, but it's not personal. I don't tell them much about me.
I genuinely like my current job and believe I'm quite good at it. However, I also know that I'm like yogurt with an expiration date. When the grant runs out, my job will be over and I will then go do something else. That may be part of the reason I have not allowed myself to get too attached here.
Yet I think it's more than just that. I think my beliefs and expectations about work have substantially shifted over the years. I am glad I've had this job and in most ways believe it to be a good match for me. But it's my JOB, not my identity. It provides a way to pay for the rest of my life. I hope I make some bit of positive difference through what I do. In the end though, I won't miss it all that much when I move on to something else.
How do you feel about your job? If you could do something else, what would it be?