The right job can enhance your life by making it more meaningful and exciting. So, how do you find one right for you?
Have you ever had a job that takes the energy right out of you? Have you ever been fortunate enough to have one that is exhilarating? If so, you know the right job can enhance your life by making it more meaningful and exciting. So, how do you find one right for you? In his book Winning, Jack Welch suggests looking for the following five signals of job fit.
PeopleEverything about a job can be perfect, but if you don't enjoy your colleagues or boss, it can be miserable. When looking for your next job, figure out if you share the company's values and personality. How intense do the people act and does it match your intensity? What is the company's work ethic, and does that fit your personality? Good signals of job fit are that you like the people and can relate to them. You genuinely enjoy your co-workers and may even find that they think and act like you. Bad signals are that you have to fake who you are. You may also find yourself saying that you don't need to be friends with the people you work with.
OpportunityHow much does the job offer you to grow and learn? A new job should feel at least somewhat challenging. You could do most of the work, but there would definitely be skills and knowledge you don't have yet. Having the opportunity to stretch, grow and learn will keep you engaged and energized, and your head in the game. A job that signals good opportunity allows you to grow as a person and professional. You learn things you didn't even know you needed to learn. A bad signal of job fit is that you are the expert or smartest person in the room.
OptionsBeing associated with a great company can be like having an Olympic medal. Some companies are known for hiring and producing talented alumni. Working for this type of company will give you credential just by working there for a few years. Good signals of a job with options are credentials you can take with you. Another good signal is when the job is in a business or industry that has a future. A bad signal is that the job offers little to expand your career or is in an industry that has peaked.
OwnershipA good signal of job fit is knowing for whom you are taking the job and feeling at peace with the arrangement. A bad signal is that you are taking it for any number of other constituents and not being okay with it. The reality is that few people have complete freedom to take a job for themselves because of tuition that needs to be paid, a spouse's career to balance, or an inner voice saying what you should do with your life or career. The only defense is to be explicit with yourself about for whom or for what you are taking the job.
Work contentEvery job is going to have rough patches. In the best case, you would love what you do, or at least a piece of what you do. Something should excite you, like clients, a boss, the camaraderie of the other employees or the challenge of the work. Something about the job feels important to you and would make you want to come back day after day. A good signal of job fit is that you love the work. It feels fun or meaningful. It even ignites a passion. A bad signal is that it feels like a job. You might find yourself saying that you are taking it until something better comes along. Every job has its ups and downs, and finding the right one for you may take some time. However, it is possible to find a job that excites you on some level if you choose work you love, surround yourself with other talented people who you enjoy, and give it your all. Reference Welch, J. Winning. HarperCollins: New York, N.Y., 2005.