5 Questions That Will Help You Set The Right Expectations From Your Job

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“Hey, how’s work going?” 

This thoughtful, genuine question is often met with grunts, snarls, and deep sighs in my circle. And that has always made me wonder﹘ why are people around me so deeply unsatisfied with their jobs? 

It is almost always because their idealistic expectations often don’t match the everyday realities of having a job. And, now they don’t know how to evaluate why they are so unhappy. Identifying what you want and need from your job is vital to one’s success.

There is more to holistic success at work than enthusiasm, passion, and salary slips. How happy we are at our workplace is defined by how our set expectations are being fulfilled.

But if we don’t take stock of our expectations beyond the enthusiasm-passion-salary slips tabs, then it’s only natural to feel increasingly unhappy with work.  

Try and answer this question before you read ahead: “What do I want from this job?”

Ready? 

5 Questions To Ask To Set The Right Expectations From Your Job

Our expectations can manifest in the form of tangible realities, (like, how much time we get for ourselves, how productive we are, etc.) or intangible needs (are we learning, growing, feeling content, etc). 

We need to have more balanced expectations and while evaluating know what is working out for us at that time. Wondering how to carefully think through your expectations from your place of work?

Here are 5 things one should think about to set the right expectations from one’s job:

 1. How Much Time Do You Spend Working In A Day? 

The most important questions are related to time

How much time do you want to invest in your work out of the 24 hours that make up your  day? Are you someone who likes long working hours, or do you work better with flexible working hours? Are your official working hours suited to your workload and deadlines?

A clear demarcation between work hours and personal time sets boundaries that allow you to focus your energy into being efficient and productive.

If these start spilling over into each other, you are bound to be exhausted and prone to quicker burnouts

2. How Much Time Do You Get For Yourself? 

One crucial aspect of happiness and satisfaction is how much time you can dedicate to taking care of yourself. Does your workload allow you to get 8 hours of sleep? Do you enjoy your weekends doing nothing? Does your office let you have the weekend? Does your daily work schedule allow you to take breaks to clear your head mid-work? Life is not all work and no play. Self-care and indulging in activities that make you feel lighter is key to your happiness.

If you get your weekends or your breaks regularly, chances are that you will be more satisfied with your work and more dedicated to it because you will not feel constantly compromised. 

3. Are You Feeling Challenged? 

‘Challenging’ and ‘tough’ are not the same things. The word ‘challenge’ in a professional dictionary has more to do with how much a task is pushing you to grow. The task needn’t be tough all the time.

Anything that pushes you to learn and grow and exposes you to broader horizons is stimulating your imagination, which can be  a big source of satisfaction and motivation at work.

If you are feeling under-utilised, you are bound to feel unhappy and frustrated with your job. The flip side to this is if you are feeling overwhelmed by the challenges you’re facing daily. If you are constantly feeling like you’re being thrown in the deep end without a moment to catch a breath, it can make you question your worth and talent. Being in a constant state of vulnerability can negatively impact your feelings towards your work. 

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4. Are You Doing Better Here Than In Your Last Workplace?

One common theme behind everything that we as humans undertake is the urge to grow, learn, and do better. Every day, we work to do better than the previous day. So, are you doing better?

A great way to evaluate if you are doing better at your current job than your previous one is to take stock of where you were and where you are.

Are you being exposed to better opportunities? Do you feel happy and accomplished after work? Are you able to live a life of more comfort? Do you feel like your skills have improved?  Do you feel like going into work every day or are you coming up with excuses not to? Have you been able to make time for important things outside of work? These questions can reiterate where you stand in your current workplace.

5. Are You Proud Of Your Work?

When we are proud of what we are doing, we like to share it with our friends and family. We like to talk about it at length; sometimes with  a sparkle in our eyes. Look back and see if you’ve had the urge to share your professional accomplishments of late.

Have you had great deliverables? Is your bonus reflecting how proud your company is of you? Are you in the running for a promotion? These are fair expectations to have from your work. Even if it isn’t your passion, you deserve to be proud of what you do. If you are joining a new job, you should look at the job profile to understand how much you will be challenged at work. You should understand from your employer what they focus on in the end results. And if their work philosophy aligns with yours, you are headed in the right direction. 

Despite asking these questions before joining a job, you may land up in a less-than-fulfilling environment ﹘ and that is okay. It is possible that your job used to satisfy you but doesn’t anymore, which is perfectly fine too.

The trick is to keep a score. Evaluate your work and your expectations regularly. There will be times when you will have to work on your skills to make the most of the opportunity at hand, or when your job is genuinely not taking you places. The idea is to look for avenues for growth.

How can your expectations be met? Is it something that you can take charge of? Or is your job inherently flawed? It is always okay to move on and find something better. But even when you start afresh, you should know how to have the right expectations from your next job.  

You’re invited! Join the Kool Kanya women-only career Community where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities. Join now.

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Kaushiki is a page and stage writer. She is a Spoken Word Poet, a painter, a potter and a solo traveller. She will befriend your pets faster than she'll become your friend. She believes in the power of stories and language, and that they hold the magic which can change the world into what we really want it to be! An advocate of kindness, on the days you don't see her doing what she loves, you'll find her slipping off staircases!

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