The 3 Surprising Questions Your Wardrobe and Your Job Have in Common!

The author says that just like a pair of old jeans, sometimes things in your life will change causing your job to no longer fit you. She offers some questions to ponder as you reflect on your career and whether or not it is still the right fit for you.

Several years ago I worked with an image consultant who helped me organize my wardrobe. She recommended that her clients go through all their clothes every six months, try on each piece, and ask themselves three vital questions: Does it fit? Does it flatter? Do I love it?

While working with a client recently as she considered her next assignment, it occurred to me that applying the same criteria to a job could be rather helpful.  I don’t know that you ought to reassess your job every six months, but it’s certainly worth asking these questions once a year.

Does It Fit?

Do the requirements of this particular position fit the lifestyle that I want to create for my family and myself? 

Life happens. Things change, they shift.  And just like your body changes and those old jeans don’t fit so well anymore, things in your life will shift, too.

For example, let’s say you need to be off work each day at 3:30 to pick up your children from daycare.  Is it possible to do that in your current position?  Maybe when you took that job, you didn’t have children so you didn’t think about logistics like daycare pickup, but now suddenly that flexibility is really important.

It’s also worth asking the same question of your compensation package. Does the pay fit the lifestyle that you choose to create for yourself?

If you find that the fit is off, it’s time to take a look at what you would need in order to have a better fit.  It may be that these things are actually negotiable in your current position and your boss would be open to making the adjustments.  (Shh…That’s the equivalent of taking your pants to a tailor. )

Questions to Ask:

  • Am I able to meet my family responsibilities comfortably?
  • Does the pay fit my lifestyle needs?
  • Does the schedule suit me?

If you discover that your life has shifted so significantly that you no longer have the option of tailoring your pants, at least you know what you’re looking for in terms of fit.

Does it flatter?

Does this position allow me to use my Gifts in a way that reflects my best self? 

I refer to “Gifts” as that sum total of your talents, skills, abilities, experiences, physical attributes, likes, dislikes, quirks and things other people might call flaws.  That whole package is your Gifts.

Ideally, your job will allow you to use your highest Gifts so that it flatters you.  It allows you to show up and bring forth the best of yourself.

Questions to Ask:

  • Does your job play to your Gifts?
  • Do you get to work with people who inspire you?
  • Do you recognize that your coworkers bring out the best in you?

We all know that if you have a blouse in the closet and wear it for years and years, over time it starts to fade, get threadbare,  and a little boring.  The same thing can happen with your job.  Keep your eyes open for what you need to keep it fresh and crisp.

Do you love it?

Do I actually look forward to going into work most days? 

Somehow many of us have been trained to expect that we will hate our jobs and be a slave for the income.  Sometimes a position can fit and flatter but the passion, the fire, just isn’t there.  At the end of the day, the best job for you would leave you feeling energized and knowing you’ve had a positive impact in the world.

Questions to Ask:

  • Can you tell that you’re making a difference?
  • Do you love it so much that you would do it even if they didn’t pay you?
  • Do you feel like you contributed to the greater good of the world?

Right now, I invite you to take a few minutes to sit down and answer the questions for yourself. I recommend that you give yourself the space to be completely honest and open to a different answer than you might expect…or might think you are “supposed” to have.

About the Author

Martha Wilson is a retired CIA Operations Officer, leadership instructor, transformational coach and the founder of Greatness In Government, a leadership and personal development firm that specializes in re-energizing mid-career government employees. Organizations that are struggling with complaints about bad leaders, discrimination, bullying and other symptoms of employee dissatisfaction hire her when they are ready for a fresh approach to leadership training. She also provides private coaching to high-potential government employees who have decided to assume responsibility for their own personal and professional development.