by STACEY LASTOE
So, you’ve been plugging away at work, and things are going…hm, how are they going? This shouldn’t be a challenging question, and yet you find yourself struggling to answer it. While you’d like to assess your work performance, suddenly it doesn’t seem so easy.
You’re not on a performance plan, and your boss has always offered a decent amount of feedback, but aside from that general knowledge, how can you tell where things are headed? Do you have a future at the company? Are you climbing the proverbial ladder in a respectable amount of time? Are you in a good position to ask for a raise or promotion?
We asked our very own Muse Career Coaches for help with this sometimes knotty topic. Here’s what 11 career experts had to say about how to know you’re doing a good job:
1. What Have You Done for Your Manager Lately?
It’s always a smart idea to be thinking ahead for when you’re ready to ask for a raise, and being able to answer the questions ‘why me?’ and ‘why now?’ is good practice. If you haven’t identified areas in which you can make your boss’ life easier, then you might have some work to do.
2. When Was the Last Time You Went Out of Your Way to Help Another Colleague or Department?
If you’re rocking it at your job, chances are you have time to be a team player and assist others on your team or in a different department. By lending a helping hand, you may also feel a boost in self-confidence and be a part of strengthening morale. If you can’t think of a time when, well, then you may want to start making a concerted effort across the company.
3. Do Teams Request to Work With You or Give You Genuine Props?
If you can honestly answer this affirmatively, that’s a pretty solid sign that you’re killing it. If colleagues go out of their way to have you on a project, that’s saying something. People want to work with others who are talented and deliver, and this type of regular, positive feedback is a strong indication that you’re going above and beyond.
4. Are You Learning Something New?
Continuous learning is a sign of continuous growth, which generally puts you in better position for your next review. If you wrack your brain and can’t come up with anything, then you either need to approach your boss about additional, new projects or find a way to contribute to something that’s not right up your alley, but that’ll help you grow.
5. Are You Aligned With Your Performance Metrics?
Most of us have performance or development plans to help us keep our goals and objectives in place. If your boss gave you one at the beginning of the year, it’s up to you to keep yourself on track. If this is what’s missing, meet with your boss as soon as you can and ask what your expected targets, goals, or metrics are so you have a way to measure success and progress.
6. Does Anyone Know How Well You’re Doing?
It’s important to know how your boss and the overall company measures success, but beyond that, it’s crucial that you’re making others aware of your performance. You can’t take for granted that your manager, or other key stakeholders are up-to-speed on your successes. It’s up to you to enlighten them and also to differentiate yourself from co-workers who are performing in the same role.
7. Have You Recently Added to Your Job Description on Your Own Initiative?
It’s simply not enough to keep doing the exact same job day in and day out for months. That’s not what’s going to get you the promotion or recognition that you’re looking for. Ask yourself what ways, big, small, and in between, you can add to your workload to demonstrate that you’re able to handle more responsibility and take initiative.
8. Are You Getting Invited to the Table?
One indicator that you’re likely doing well at your job is that you get invited to the table, so to speak. Your boss gives you a new exciting project because they trust you. Your colleagues from other teams invite you to be part of a working group or initiative. You get asked to represent your company at a community-wide event. If these asks are coming your way, this is a solid indication that you’re viewed as a valuable contributor and asset to your company.
9. Do Others Ask for Your Input?
Think about your value from the perspective of your boss, teammates, and stakeholders. When you’re invited to important meetings, exciting new projects and, simply, to share your opinions, it’s a sign that you’re doing well, that others see your value. If you’re given a seat at the table for big decisions, that means that your team sees worth in your thoughts, ideas, and skills. If you’re seen as a problem-solver, an idea generator and value-add, people will want to tap into you.
10. Have You Created Attainable Goals?
The best way to measure success in an ambiguous job is to create your own goals and benchmarks and share these with your boss. This not only shows your initiative to excel but also gives your supervisor an opportunity to let you know if the goals you’ve set for yourself are in line with their idea of success in your role. You can look up industry best-practices or reach out to others in your industry through professional organizations to find ways to measure and track your progress in a role that may be hard to quantify.
11. Are You Steadily Accomplishing Things?
Keep your own victory/productivity/problem-solving log to enhance your confidence and own your accomplishments, but also to reference when you want to ask for a raise, promotion, or transfer. Having a track record that you’re aware of now is great for your own sense of success, and having it to demonstrate what you’ve done when it’s time to have a serious conversation with your boss will allow you to make a solid case for yourself and your contributions.
Want help tracking all your accomplishments—both big and small? Keep this worksheet handy and it’ll do all the heavy lifting for you. OK, most of the heavy lifting.