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Kathryn Grayson Nanz
Kathryn Grayson Nanz

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The Job Satisfaction Checklist (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Job)

For as long as I've been employed, I've been a job-hopper. My current record for the longest time at a job is only 2 years and 6 months...and my record for shortest is a measly 4 months. I haven't ever been fired or let go – which I don't say to brag, so much as to emphasize how much I simply don't sit still. Hell, one of my first blogs here was about how to gracefully resign from your position! However, as I come up on breaking my previous "longest" record in the midst of some decidedly un-fun working circumstances, I've been surprised to find that – against all logic – I don't feel that usual itch to jump ship.

So, I sat down to figure out what makes this job different from all other jobs. I think a lot of folks make these kind of "stay vs. go" decisions based on a gut feeling but, as someone living with anxiety, my gut is pretty much always screaming "NO NO NO" in response to everything and I've learned to just tune it out – instead, I make lists.

I came up with the following list of things I value in a job, and found that my current job ticks most of the boxes, which I think is a fair reflection of my level of satisfaction. In general, I think this list is a pretty good litmus test for assessing your current position and seeing whether it may be time to leave and seek greener pastures – so, without further ado, I'd like to share it with you. I hope you find it helpful.

The Job Satisfaction Checklist:

Not all items are weighted equally – because some things may matter more to you than others, you'll have to assign your own weight to each and (ideally) factor that into your final tally.

Are you regularly learning new things?

☐ Are you allowed to explore new techniques or approaches?
☐ Are you given any kind of an allowance or budget for continuing education?
☐ Is this job preparing your for the next step in your career (whether that's at the current company or not)?
☐ Do you feel like it's okay for you to occasional fail when trying new things?
☐ Do you get useful / helpful comments on your PRs?

Do you feel supported?

☐ Do you have a mentor?
☐ Do you get the opportunity to pair program (if you want to)?
☐ Do you have dedicated one-on-one time with your boss, a senior developer, or someone else capable of affecting a change that you may not be able to?
☐ Is there someone on your team that you feel comfortable asking questions to when you're stuck?

Is there room for growth?

☐ Do you know what the path for advancement looks like for your position, and do you want to do that job?
☐ Are the expectations clearly communicated re: what it would take for you to get promoted?
☐ Are those expectations clearly defined and reasonably achievable?
☐ Are there regular check-ins or feedback sessions where you're given direction on how you can improve?

Is the company treating you fairly?

☐ Do you feel pressured to regularly stay late, work weekends, or skip lunch?
☐ Are you paid on par with others on your team at a similar experience level?
☐ Is the pay structure at your company transparent?
☐ Is your company diverse? Do you see this reflected in management positions / C-level positions as well?
☐ Do you have someone you can safely speak with about inappropriate comments or inequality concerns?
☐ Are your disabilities accommodated without complaint?
☐ Are your holidays accommodated without complaint?

Are your financial needs being met?

☐ Do you have benefits (medical, dental, vision, etc.)?
☐ Are you paid on par with others who have your same title in your location?
☐ Is the pay enough for you to live comfortably?
☐ Is there some form of retirement savings offered?
☐ Do you feel comfortable asking for or negotiating a raise?

Are your social needs being met?

☐ Do you generally like the people you work with?
☐ Are you able to bring your full self to work (as much as you choose to), or do you feel that you have to hide certain aspects of your life / personality to be accepted?
☐ Can you make (appropriate) jokes at work and banter with your colleagues?
☐ Are you spoken to respectfully?
☐ Is your opinion considered when relevant decisions are being made?
☐ Are your achievements recognized?

Did I leave anything out? If there's anything you think should be added to the list, please let me know!

Top comments (2)

robdwaller profile image
Rob Waller

I have a similar approach to work, I think my longest stay somewhere is a little under three years and my shortest stay is one day. 😂

Sadly my current coping mechanism is to accept the Tech Industry for what it is, generally terrible at tech, and value the non-technical aspects of organisations, are the people nice, are the working hours ok, etc. But I'm not sure this makes me happy either.

Maybe I'll give this list a go, thank you for sharing.

ljbrehm profile image
Jim Brehm

This is great. Thank you.