You’ve been thinking about a new job for a while now, because you know you could be doing more, and better. You found out you’re underpaid and you’re tired of being micromanaged. You want to start looking but the world of online job hunting seems like a needle in a haystack.
No one ever really showed you how to approach your career strategically, so you’ve been looking at job postings here and there to see what “sounds good.” But you don’t want to commit to anything because you may end up hating it.
I made these same mistakes too. In fact, I saw them through: I took jobs and thought I had to be there forever (I hate letting people down, especially people who have taken the chance on hiring me). So I stayed in a couple of jobs just so that the guy who hired me wouldn’t be left hanging (not a good reason to stay!)
Eventually, the pain of the role outweighed my fear of letting people down (thank goodness!) and I quit 2 jobs within 3 months or less of being there. Looking back, I wish I had never started those jobs at all. I’ll never get those months of my life back.
This leads me to the 3 ingredients to finding a job you’re actually going to like.
The first ingredient of a successful search is committing to Exploration FIRST. There are ways to do this without committing to doing a job forever. The not-so-sexy term for this is “research”. Do I actually want to be a social media manager? I should find out before I apply, take a job as one and then end up hating it, but now I don’t want to let these people down who took a chance on hiring me so I have to stick it out for at least a while. This was pretty much my thought process.
The second ingredient is digging into the roles you’re considering in a deeper fashion. What role sounds exciting and interesting to you? Social Media Manager, Event Planner, Business Analyst? What if, after starting a job as one of these, you realize that all a Social Media Manager does is tweet all day and that sounds boring? You want to find that out before you jump into the job. So zero in on a role you want and then make sure you really want that role. Talk to some people who are in the trenches, to figure out what it’s really all about.
The third ingredient is culture. The people you work with are a huge component of your day-to-day levels of happiness. So many sayings come to mind; “People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses;” or, “I stay for the people, but I really don’t like my job.” Culture or “fit” is so overlooked when someone takes a new job. This is perhaps the most important ingredient of all and it has to work in harmony with the other 2 in order to get the end result, which is your perfectly-risen cake that’s moist, delicious, and tastes like heaven.
In Work & Life,