How do you battle anxiety and indecision to choose the right job? There are a lot of factors to consider, and the job hunt can feel overwhelming.
Taking a new job is a “big” decision because it’s a long-term commitment. You spend a lot of time in this environment, interacting with the team and doing the work. I’ve found that the reason my clients often feel unhappy or unfulfilled at work is because they’re in a job that’s not a good fit for them.
To find out if a job is the right “fit,” you need to ask yourself, do my values align with those of the company?
Does This Company Share My Values?
Like in any good relationship, you want to be sure that you and your potential employer are on the same page. A misunderstanding or misalignment of values often leads to tension and conflict (two things we’d like to avoid in the workplace).
The first step, then, is to clearly identify your values. You need to know what your values are, and rank them in order of importance. This gives you the criteria to make an informed decision, because not only do you know which of your expectations are non-negotiable, but also where you’re willing to compromise.
If this is a new exercise for you, take the time to write down your thoughts. I’ve created a worksheet to help my clients identify their values – scroll down to download for free.
Think beyond your present situation. What kind of person do you want to be tomorrow? Next year? 10 years from now? What is most important to you, not only professionally but personally? Some examples include honesty, integrity, patience… Creativity and innovation. Equality, security, and respect. Communication, compassion.
How to Evaluate Prospects and Choose the Right Job
In every interaction with your potential employer – emails, phone calls, interviews – you have an opportunity to learn more about the company’s values. With that in mind, you can overcome your anxiety and interview with confidence.
After every phone call or interview, take your worksheet and add a checkmark for every one of the values that this potential employer shares. Give the company a “grade” for how well your values align.
So how do you do that? Pay closer attention to the people in the room. Do you get the sense that employees “have to” go to work, or that they “get to” go to work? An employee’s attitude about their work environment will tell you a lot, even before you’ve taken the job. As you interact with your potential team, take note of how they treat you, but especially how they treat others. For example, if someone listens to you politely or responds to your messages in a timely manner, they’ve treated you with professionalism and respect.
What have they communicated to you about their goals as a company? Do they promote work-life balance? Do they believe in continued education for employees? Are they service-oriented?
If one of your values is diversity, how well is that represented by the company? Take a look around and determine whether you’d give the company a “check” for diversity, equality, and inclusion. If you value loyalty, ask around to find out how long employees have stayed with the company. Do you value creativity? Learn more about the boss’ take on forward-thinking ideas or implementing change.
With your worksheet in hand, you’ll very quickly determine if this job is a good fit for you. How well has this company “scored”? If your values are met at least 70% of the time, you can feel confident about taking the position.
At the end of the day, choosing the right job is all about “fit.” You’ll know whether you’ve found the right fit when your values align with those of the company.
This simple exercise could potentially save you from wasting years of your life in an unfulfilling job that was never right for you. Are you ready to clarify your mindset, harness your values, and choose the right job? Download my “Identifying Your Life Values” worksheet.