According to research by The Conference Board, 52.3 percent of Americans are unhappy at work. This is significant, considering that about three decades ago the percentage of people unhappy at work was just 39.9 percent. Research from Gallup also shows that a whopping 51 percent of the U.S. workforce are unengaged.
As 2017 is coming to an end, and, especially if you're not satisfied with your current job, it might be a good idea to perform a career audit. Here are some areas to look at when conducting a career audit.
1. Review your roles
One of the sources of dissatisfaction and unhappiness that most people have with their work has to do with the role they find themselves in. The very first thing you should audit is your role in your current job, and how you feel that affected you and your career opportunities in 2017. Could anything be done about it in 2018? Most people tend to think work roles are set in stone. That's not the case. Instead, depending on several factors, you can easily negotiate a better role for yourself.
2. Review your current work arrangement
Another area of your work that needs an audit, which very few people consider, is your work arrangement. For example, if you have to commute to and from work, and it's gobbling up your time, leading to you being very stressed while barely avoiding being late to work every day, it might be a good idea to review your work arrangement. If your location is far from your place of work, what is the possibility of negotiating working from home or having some days in which you are able to work from home? If you had done that in 2017, how would it have affected your work? How about giving it a shot in 2018?
3. Review your compensation package
Let's not get into the debate on whether or not money can make you happy. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that when you are underpaid (and have to work so hard while being barely able to pay the bills), it will have an effect on your perception of your job as well as your job satisfaction levels.
You should also review your compensation package. While you might feel nothing can be done about it, that's not necessarily the case. Try to get some data first: how much are you earning compared to colleagues doing similar work? As has been addressed on Glassdoor, this isn't necessarily difficult to find out. How much are people doing your kind of work earning on average? Once you get these facts, it can help you decide whether or not to demand additional compensation going forward in 2018.
4. Review your health (physical, mental and emotional)
One of the most important areas you need to audit is your health, how it affects your job, and vice-versa. According to some estimates, stress costs the U.S. economy about $300 billion a year. The impact of both physical, mental, and emotional health challenges on work productivity and performance cannot be overstated.
If you spent most of 2017 just working, without having a plan to ensure you work healthily, it is important to address that in 2018: you will only reach optimum career levels when you're healthy in all areas.
Some ideas to help address this include:
- Reviewing your diet; we are what we eat. When you work in a busy, fast-paced environment, it is easy to fall into the trap of eating low-quality food. Doing so will have dire consequences, though.
- Develop an exercise routine -- no matter how little the time spent exercising, it is better than no exercise. 10 to 15 minutes of daily exercise can make a lot of difference.
- Look into practicing mindfulness and meditation. These will not only help you become more focused, but they can lower the effects of stress on you.
- If the nature of your work is such that it is seriously affecting your health, try to see if you can negotiate something better.
5. Review your approach to work security
Another very important area you need to audit is how you approach security in regards to how you carry out your work. This is especially important in an increasingly connected world where most of us rely on computers and the Internet to carry out our work.
Ignoring security can cost you opportunities at work. It can even cost you your job -- just ask Target's ex-CEO Gregg Steinhafel. Meanwhile, the massive eBay hack involving 145 million compromised user accounts was only possible because the login credentials of three key employees were compromised.
Have you thought about the possibility of your actions leading to the security of your organization being compromised? More importantly, have you thought about the implications of this for your career? Here are some tips:
- If your company has an anti-BYOD policy, it is important to honor it.
- Ensure you have a complete security suite -- that includes anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall -- installed on your computer.
- Whenever accessing company server and files on a public network, be sure to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Even if you're not tech-savvy, you can try using popular and easy-to-use VPN services like ExpressVPN and Astrill.
- Avoid using the same password for your personal and corporate accounts.
This article originally appeared on Glassdoor.com.