Measuring Career Growth – Part III (Job Complexity and Satisfaction)

This is the 3rd post in the series on measuring career growth, and a follow-up to the post on financial and learning goals. In this post, I will talk about 3rd goal (job complexity) and also touch upon the job satisfaction aspect of all these goals, which came up in one of the comments.

Job Complexity goals: As I mentioned before, this is a hard one to measure since it changes infrequently and there are too many parameters that influence this. Job complexity come from how many of the following dimensions are involved in your regular actions and decisions:

  1. Hierarchy: How many hierarchy levels (up and down)?
  2. Spread: How many peer groups at these levels?
  3. Geography: How many locations, countries, time zones and continents?
  4. Budget: How much money do you directly or indirectly influence?

Complexity is also enhanced (and diminished) by following dimensions of an organization:

  1. Processes that are followed by the organization. For example, a development engineer in a highly process-driven company can function very well without applying any original thought. An employee of a startup may have the opposite experience where simple jobs can be quite complex.
  2. Culture of the organization: Culture can make routine tasks more challenging (and vice versa).
  3. Structure of the organization: For example, a matrix organization may make a job more complex (or the other way round) than a regular hierarchical one.

A good rule of thumb is to ensure that job complexity stays as it is or goes up.

Job Satisfaction/Happiness: One of the comments on the first post in this series was this:

“Clearly I see “Satisfaction” as another yardstick to measure achievement of career goals. You may get well paid, you may learn something, you may be given more responsibilities but do all of these collectively give you job satisfaction?”

This is a great point. Without job satisfaction (or happiness), a career goal is not going to be useful or productive for the individual. While it is debatable whether job satisfaction is a destination or a journey (goals are definitely destinations), it is important to factor this in while setting goals. My experience while working with many professions has been that people are happy/satisfied when they are working in the area they like and love, in which they are good at (strengths), and are working in a way that are aligned to their value system. As I pointed out in one of my previous post on managing a career path, a good and successful career plan must factor in your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes, as well as your current and desired skills, not to talk of the value system and your life goal. If you define your goals keeping these factors in mind and work towards achieving those goals, satisfaction (and happiness) will be a likely by-product and outcome (depending on whether you define satisfaction as a component of destination or journey). Any further discussion on this topic will likely go into spiritual and metaphysical domain which are better discussed somewhere else! However, I am interested in getting other comments about their intersection of these goals with satisfaction/happiness dimension and what others feel about this.

In the next post, I will try and combine the thoughts so far into some sort of a framework that can be useful in thinking about these topics in a shorthand way. Stay tuned!

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