Spin the Career Wheel - How Smooth is Your Ride?

‘Tis the season for reevaluating your career.  Bonuses just paid out and it feels like the job market is heating up.  I hear from a lot of people that they think it might be time for a change, but they often can’t articulate exactly what’s the issue (and what they really want).  Career changes feel scary – you are considering leaving the safety of what you know.  Some people start to get generally negative around this time of year.  It’s important to get beyond general dissatisfaction and do some diagnosis. 

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If you want to take stock, use a simple tool to assess your job and determine if your career is smooth driving or feeling like riding on square wheels. 

Do you feel like this guy?  Are you pedaling and pedaling putting out serious effort just to maintain your sanity?  

Maybe it's time to try another approach.



There’s a great tool for coaching called the “Wheel of Life”.  I first came across the tool in the book Co-Active Coaching. The Wheel of Life is a useful coaching tool where you rate your current level of satisfaction in several areas of life (e.g. Health, Money, Family & Friend, etc.).  Based on your responses, you can see how smooth or bumpy your wheel feels.  Uneven scoring indicates areas where you can grow, so a simple assessment can lead to a powerful discussion.


I wanted to follow the same approach but focus specifically on a tool that can help you assess the current state of your career.  I spent some time researching the different components of career satisfaction.  The eight categories below are the key elements of job satisfaction.  Rate your current level of satisfaction in each category to get more specific on where you need to focus your changes.  It might not be a full job change.  You might have only one or two areas to adjust and you’ll be rolling along. 


For each of the categories below, rate your current level of satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10.  0 means you are not satisfied at all and 10 means you are highly satisfied.

  1. The Work – how interesting is your day to day work? Is it challenging? Does it excite you? Does it feel meaningful at some level?

  2. Your Peers – how would you rate the quality of your peers? Do you have strong relationships with them? Do they communicate with you well?

  3. The Company – how stable is the company? Does the culture help you thrive? Is there a general positive feeling about the organization?

  4. Your Growth – do you have access to development opportunities? Is there potential for promotion over time (if that’s what you want)? Do you get to learn and grow by working on projects?

  5. Your Boss – What’s it like working for your boss? How strong is the relationship? Do you receive regular feedback (both + and -)?

  6. The Money – Are you compensated fairly? Do you feel you receive recognition for your contributions? Does the money meet your needs?

  7. Your Balance – Can you have a life outside of work? How high is your stress level? Do you have the flexibility to handle things outside of work if needed?

  8. The Perks – How are the intangibles? Do you get to travel? Can you work from home occasionally? How are the benefits?


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Once you have your scoring for each category, plot it on a simple spider or radar chart in excel.  There are few people who have 10s in every area, so look at the shape and shoot for a smooth ride.  See where the bumps are.  The uneven areas are where to spend time in thought. Where do you want to be?  Are there some areas where you must have 10s?  Is a 6 OK somewhere else?  

It is indeed the season to reevaluate, so take a look at all the components of a fulfilling career.  If the ride is rough, reach out to us for a free strategy session where we can walk you through ideas for how to get a smoother ride. 

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- Mike Sweeney, www.sabercoaching.com