My niece was recently laid off from her job. While it's never great to lose your job, she had been there for three years and was feeling it was time to move on. Over lunch last week, I was asking her what her next move might be. This was her first "real" job and not surprisingly she seemed uncertain as to what she wanted in her next job.
I advised her to spend some time thinking about what a perfect day would look like. How far was she wiling to travel? Did she want to work in a hectic, high energy environment or something calmer and slower paced? Was salary the most important part of her search or would she be willing to work for less money to do something she felt was worthwhile?
Finding a job you love is not easy. And, in a weak economy it may be tempting to take the first offer. However, if you have the opportunity to give it some time, a little research and a little internal soul searching may help you land the job that matches your skills and interests and one that will allow you to gain the experience you need to put you on a career path and not bouncing from one job to another.
Far too many people are unhappy at work. According to Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace Report "Just 30% of employees are engaged and inspired at work. The report surveyed more than 150,000 full- and part-time workers during 2012. That's up from 28% in 2010. More dismal news from the report "A little more than half of workers (52%) have a perpetual case of the Mondays — they're present, but not particularly excited about their job."
The remaining 18% are actively disengaged or, as Gallup CEO Jim Clifton wrote in the report, "roam the halls spreading discontent." Worse, Gallup reports, those actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $550 billion annually in lost productivity.
Employers no longer want to hire you if you're only going to be miserable after a few months then you want to get a job where you will join the ranks of those "roaming the halls spreading discontent."
Tips to help you during your job search
Investigate the company. Use your social and personal network to see if you are connected to anyone that may have worked at a company you're interviewing or currently work there. This will give you insights into the company culture, perhaps some specifics on the role you're filling or who you may be working with or how your supervisor is viewed.
Interview the company as they are interviewing you. Think of an interview like a date. You wouldn't marry someone after a first date. You want to find out what lies beneath the person who is hopefully trying to make a great first impression. You should arrive at your interviews (and there should be more than one) prepared to ask specific questions about your role and what you can expect. Ask to meet colleagues with whom you may be working. The interpersonal relationships you will have at work will be an important component to whether you enjoy your work and feel you can collaborate and learn as opposed to feeling that you're doing the heavy lifting or constantly doing battle with colleagues.
Understand what is important to you. Circle back to the conversation I had with my niece. I asked her to think about what was important to her. Now think about what is important to you because if you start to compromise from the beginning, the chances are you will be unhappy sooner rather than later. Think about:
Room for advancement
Good benefits like generous vacation time
Making a difference
Opportunity to work at a "prestige" company
If you're just starting your career, following these tips can help you get off to the right start. If you're a more experienced worker who has been frustrated in your career, maybe taking a deep breath and starting to implement some of these guidelines might just be able to help you make a better decision down the line.
- 5 Things About Healthcare Staffing Firms Job Seekers Must Know
- Are You Maximizing Your Network for Optimal Job Impact?
- Co-Workers Slacking on the Job? Learn How to Hold Them Accountable
- Do Temporary Jobs Fit Your Lifestyle?
- Excel in Your Job by Being Likable