Finding a job can be a stressful experience. There is often a sense of vulnerability, especially in the early stages of a career before a list of accomplishments begins to define you. The uncertainty of job hunting can lead to anxiety, which often interferes with clear thinking. To make your job search more fulfilling, focus on a few criteria for judging whether the job you are considering is right for you.
Does this job excite me? The best jobs are those that make you feel like you want to run to work. When I talk to professionals who love their jobs, I hear a common refrain: What I do is important. I infer from their descriptions that they see impact from their work. That impact can come in all sizes and shapes, but it is considered meaningful to that professional.
Will my fellow coworkers care about me? Almost every employer worthy of your job-hunting efforts would value you as a person. That is not what I’m talking about. What I mean by care is that the workplace can be a platform for your personal development where you will be challenged and coached. When you are considering a job opportunity, think about the changes you will undergo in a year or two. What new skills will you build? What experiences will you realize that will improve your judgment and further your maturity?
Is employer reputation and scale important to me? This is an important criterion for some people who need to work for a big, recognizable name. Are you one of those who require that definition? If you are, be comfortable with it and understand you will not be happy elsewhere.
For those of you who are about to venture out on your own to build your businesses, you may find these criteria not much help at first blush. I would ask you to reconsider their usefulness.
If you are successful in your business, you likely will not be a solo practitioner for long. As you become successful, you will need to compete for talent to attract the best employees. In attracting and judging that prospective employee, sit in her chair and ask the three questions I pose. Obviously, if reputation and scale are important, that individual won’t fit in your start-up. However, the other two criteria do apply. Will you be able to make the case that your business will care about an employee and make her want to run to work?