Often when we’re looking for a job, either we’re unemployed and feverishly searching for our next job or we’re employed in an undesirable job that we cannot wait to leave.
Either way, we’re more likely to jump into the next job without stopping to think whether or not it’s what we truly want. It’s like that bad relationship you just got out of and the next guy to come along suddenly looks appealing. The next guy keeps us from feeling lonely and his companionship is comforting even if it is just on the surface.
Think of your job search just like being between relationships. We’re not looking for a rebound (unless that’s your thing). Rebound jobs make us susceptible to taking anything that comes along. Jobs that seem good on paper but may not necessarily be the right opportunity for us.
Many of us are conditioned to look for jobs based on the qualifications we can fill and the responsibilities required. Oh and of course, the salary we would be making. While these are all very important elements to consider in the job search process, it’s equally important to pay attention to factors that give you a more complete picture. Without this level of clarity, it’s easy to fall victim to the allure of receiving a job offer from XYZ Company. Sometimes this job offer can feel like a ticket to freedom out of our current job or from the pressure and frustration of being without work. The job search doesn’t have to be a mindless one. Jumping into any job without knowing what you truly want can lead you to a job you don’t want. What seems like freedom today may turn into ‘WTF’ down the line.
Choose the job, don’t let it choose you.
Be mindful of making any knee-jerk decisions in accepting a job without consciously knowing what you are accepting. Of course you won’t always know everything about the job before making a decision but there are a few questions you can ask yourself that can lead you to make a more confident choice.
Break out your journal (and if you aren’t the journaling type, at least take time to think these through) and write the answer to the following:
- What would my perfect job look like?
- What type of work would I ideally be doing?
- How does my strengths and interests align with this role?
- What is the company’s mission? Is it a mission I actually care about and want to help work toward?
- What are the values of the company? Examples might be, sustainability, giving back, work-life balance, community, collaboration, women’s leadership, creativity.
- How does the company’s values align with mine?
- What is the culture of the organization? Do they thrive on deadlines? Do they require work on weekends? Is it introvert or extrovert friendly?
- What is the nature of my work at the company? Does it support the things I love to do, my personality, and the way I work?
- And most importantly, how does this role fit in with my overall sense of purpose that I want for myself and my life?
Know your values, know what job you want, and know what type of work in the world is important to you. Put yourself in a position to choose consciously, otherwise someone else will choose for you.