Evaluating the internal environment of a job

Asking others’ opinion about my job definitely gives me more perspective and opportunities that weren’t visible yet.

I have also realized that while the job looks really good from outside, the sheen that makes it shiny from afar tends to wear away as we get into the daily activities of the job. This leads me to believe that the internal environment in the company is an important factor to realize the potential of the job.

The internal environment can give that boost of confidence to take decisions or can even fill you with self doubt. It can give you a true feeling of self improvement or can become a slow poison that diminishes you to an average performer. It can provide you a true experience of a professional career or it can permanently push you into a vortex of middle management roles. In fact, the internal environment for a job is not even company specific, it is job specific!

There might not be a true/ exact measure of the state of internal environment for a job, but there are certain factors that truly affect it.

I look at the following factors to judge the internal environment of the job.

  1. Pay: What you earn, in monetary terms, for doing your job. This includes the entire fixed, variable and perks components. Its necessary that your pay increases exponentially (and not linearly) as your performance increases.
  2. Peer Group: The peer group is the set of people in your group who have a similar job function as yours. Your immediate managers can also be your peer group. These are the people you will communicate and collaborate with other than performing the core activities of your job. These people will influence your thoughts and behavior to a large extent, even though we are oblivious to it. They can be a set of giants whose shoulders you can climb on or they can be a group of crabs that collectively pull you down.Peer groups need to be highly capable, competitive and collaborative.
  3. Position: The job position is the set of expectations and responsibilities expected by the company. It decides how much visibility of the company’s operations you will have. Your position also measure your impact on the company profits and hence your importance. Understand whether you contribute to revenue or production or administration or research. Each of these has a different importance based on the current state and future roadmap of the company.
  4. Power: Power indicates the amount of authority and freedom you are given to make the decisions that affect the company’s performance. This is the most difficult factor to judge when looking at a job from outside, but can be understood by talking to peers. A good position with inadequate power is just a job for its namesake.
  5. Promotion: Promotion indicates the kind of job opportunities that open up due to this job. This is dependent on the skills and knowledge you will accrue during the course of this job.

I have found it necessary and useful to evaluate my job every 6 months based on these factors. It helps me figure out if I am really improving myself or just growing at a average rate or even stagnating.

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