Ever noticed how some people seem to bounce from one job to another while others land in a job and remain for long stretches? Or how some are happy and content while others are not? Some are just lucky but most of the people who find real happiness in the work they do didn’t land there by accident.
There are many things you might want to honestly think about when looking for work, and it seems to me it might be a good idea to lay a few down as a refresher, although I’m sure you who read this will have ideas of your own to contribute, and that of course would benefit other readers should you choose to add a comment or two. Please do!
KNOW YOURSELF. You can look at almost any job advertisement these days and get a good idea of the skills required. If you want to be successful, you genuinely need to have those skills and enjoy using them. If you don’t, even should you make it through an interview and get the job, you won’t last long if you can’t deliver on a daily basis. Time will expose your weak skills.
GEOGRAPHY AND TRAVEL. I see people actually apply for jobs, get offered interviews and then turn them down because it’s too far to travel to. Why bother to apply in the first place? That’s wasted time and energy. Know your geographical limitations, how you are limited or not by your access to transportation.
MOTIVATION. What is your reason for wanting to work? Are you looking for a permanent long-term job? Maybe looking to work at four or five jobs over just a few years to find your likes and dislikes? Is money your sole motivator? Knowing why you are looking for work is so basic, most people overlook this and that’s a huge error. Why do you want to work at all?
SUPERVISION PREFERENCE. Many people don’t really factor in to their job search the kind of supervisor they work best under; until of course they have a really bad experience and then know to avoid someone just like them in the future. This is a great question for an interview as in, “What’s the leadership style of the person to whom I’d be reporting?” Of course supervisor’s change over time, but you’ll have an idea if you get offered the job.
PURPOSE. Some people need to have meaning in the work they do so at the end of the day they feel they’ve completed work of value. You won’t be happy over time if you take a job that you describe as meaningless or mind numbing to your family and friends.
THE SHORT-TERM FIX. Realize that you may want a quick, short-term job doing pretty much anything in some cases if you are trying to overcome a problem such as having been fired or getting something current on your resume. Short-term work, like contract or temporary work fills in gaps, and makes the question, “Why did you leave your last job?” easier to answer if your last job was a short-term fixed contract.
THE ‘FIT’. Sometimes harder to judge and requiring more advanced research, knowing if you will fit in with the atmosphere and climate is often a deal-maker or breaker. If you’re honest and genuine, but the culture of the workplace seems artificial and the people self-absorbed, you may have the qualifications on paper, but it will drive you insane working in that setting. How long will really you last?
FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES. If you have a child but are separated, you may find your mobility restricted by the courts and unable to accept a job and move to another country, another state or province, or even another town. You could have ailing parents to take care of restricting your ability to work certain shifts, or even full-time.
CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS. A criminal record can be restrictive to the point where you are perfect for the job in every way, but the record alone prevents the employer from hiring you. Get the pardon process started; as long as it may seem. Better yet, don’t do the crime in the first place. People in their 40’s and 50’s are losing out on jobs for what they call, “something stupid I did in my early 20’s.” Consider being entirely honest and upfront about your past in an interview. You have nothing to lose if they’ll do a search anyhow.
VALUE MATCHING. A sure way to last a long time is to find a job where the daily work and the values held by the company match your own. This is similar to having purpose in your work, but in this case the purpose is in harmony with what you really value as a person. If you value people, working with compassion, empathy and care, etc., you’ll thrive in employment with organizations who have these same words inscribed in their literature and in their daily culture. Companies build reputations just as people do, so check out a prospective employer’s reputation.
Know that if you are taking a job without thinking it through it might not work out well at all. Good advice is to make the most of every job you undertake be it long or short-term. Three jobs from now, you may find some interviewer asks you to talk about what you found rewarding in the job you are now considering accepting.