Am I in the right role?
It seems a pretty straightforward question. But in order to answer it accurately, you may need to ask yourself a whole series of further questions.
If you are well advanced in your career, you will have a bigger frame of reference to draw on.
The question should therefore be a little easier to answer.
If you’re just starting out, it can be hard. Perhaps you have unrealistic expectations. Perhaps your expectations aren’t high enough.
The question has become tougher to answer in recent years, certainly in the affirmative. Working in a post-industrial world, employees are now able to add more variables.
It’s important to bear in mind, however, that the desire to find ‘meaning’ in a job is a luxury enjoyed only by recent generations. For thousands of years, work has been viewed as nothing more than a means to an end, a process by which a person can feed, clothe and shelter themselves and their family.
This aside, in the modern workplace, even the most junior, mundane of roles can be meaningful as long as you have an appreciation of the wider context.
Think about how your everyday tasks contribute to the work of the team, how your team supports the department, and how your department contributes to the overall goals of the company.
If he or she doesn’t know, then they may be more disillusioned than you. Establishing a 'clear line of sight', while not necessarily making a dull task any less humdrum, should bring a little more satisfaction.
One possible way to find out if you’re in the right job may be to add up all your responses to the questions above.
If there are more "yes" than "no", it’s likely you are in the right job. If "no" dominates then you should look to change things. Life is too short - and the working week too long - to stay in a role which offers little prospect of fulfilment.
Or maybe there's even a simpler way. Arguably, jobs fall largely into one of two categories: ones that give you energy or ones that take it away.
Suddenly, it’s not such a hard question to answer after all.