4 Ways to Evaluate Your Job

January 4, 2016

As you start to make your New Year’s Resolutions (read here for why I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions), many have a resolution to find a new job or get promoted.

I thought it would be a good time to walk through my list of how to evaluate your job. There is no better place to start than with your boss.

Your Boss

There is a widely heald belief that you should pick your boss, not your job. Especially in the early parts of your career, I’m a big believer in that philosophy.

Is your boss enabling you? Are they bringing out your full potential?

Andy LaCavita, a recruiter based in Chicago, wrote a book on the statistics of employment (find it here). We were talking about how many employees leave due to a bad boss. He quickly reminded me of the opposite. Many employees stay because of a good boss. They stay too long when they could be growing their career faster.

Think about both whether your boss is helping you grow your career and whether now is the right time to move on.

Your Mobility

A lot of people I talk with think about their career in a linear fashion. Moving from Analyst to Senior Analyst to Manager, etc.

I view career growth in terms of overall mobility. Can you not only move up in the classic fashion but does the company offer mobility througout the organization.

I often pick Application Security as the mobility example because I think it is very easy to visualize. An AppSec professional can move from the security organization to within the development organization seamlessly. Likewise, a security person spending time outside of Information Security (or even Information Technology) can be hugely valuable to your career.

Is that a company you want to invest in?

The Company

I’ve spent the majority of my career at KPMG. I liked the company but I wasn’t necessarily passionate about it. I spent 3 years at JP Morgan Chase and felt proud of working for them. I wrote a post a while back on how you introduce yourself — something that is directly related to how you feel about who you work for. Find it here.

Think about whether you’re proud of who you work for. There is no assessment criteria that says you work for a good company or not, just what you feel personally.

Your Skillset

Finally, what most people put as #1, I put at the bottom. Are you actively using your skillsets? Are you learning new things?

In my book, Building A Life and Career in Security, I talk about having a broad background in security. The idea is that if you focus on too specific an area, you’ll limit your ability to be move up in your career.

The question to ask is whether you’re learning new things, learning the right things, and probably most importantly, are you having fun doing it?

Putting It All Together

The idea of an employment assessment isn’t a simple checkbox. No job is perfect. Weight your answers to each of the above and determine what your next course of action is. If you have an awful boss but work for a great company, that’s a great time to look for another area within the company to work with.

Likewise, if you work for a great boss and you’re doing great things, many working for a moderate company isn’t that important.

After you think where you stand, the question then becomes setting those goals into action this year.