Life is short. We have heard that quote a million times, but as I watch the years roll by I know that it’s absolutely true. It is important to do something you enjoy. Whether you work for yourself or for someone else, finding the right job is essential to enjoying life. If you are unsatisfied with where you are, take the plunge and look for something new. You are never too old to be happy. Decide what you want and go for it.
There are lots of great jobs out there, so ask yourself why exactly you want a new job. This goes beyond simply evaluating your skill sets and focuses on what makes you happy, or less stressed, at work. Finding the right kind of company is key to that equation. You need to find a company that offers a cultural fit to your personality. Gone are the days when everyone wore a suit to work and carried a brief case. There are companies out there that still adopt those ideas, and if that’s what you need to feel like a professional – seek one out. On the other hand many newer companies have adopted a casual, come as you are attitude. Dress code is just one element of understanding the culture of an organization and contributes to whether or not you are a cultural fit with that organization. For example I recently met with a prospective client. I wore my standard jacket and slacks to the meeting. Everyone in the office was wearing tattered jeans, sweat shirts, Vans, baseball hats and drinking gallons of Red Bull. There is nothing wrong with their office environment but it was immediately clear that having them as a client would not mesh with my corporate attitude. While sometimes these differences can lead to positive collaboration, they can also symbolize a difference in how you approach getting things done.
Money is a natural reason to look for the right job, but it is not the only method of compensation that companies offer anymore. There are a lot of companies that do not pay as well as some of their competitors, yet attract the brightest and best talent because of their other benefits. Offering employees things like healthcare benefits, 401K plans, retirement plans, vacation time, bonus structures, and flexible working schedules can make a big difference to your quality of life. When choosing the right company it is important to know what they offer by way of other benefits and what kind of benefits are important to you. Healthcare is one of the largest reasons why some people chose certain companies. Having a health care plan that is comprehensive, and covers the family, is an important benefit for men or women, often making it a deciding factor. On the other hand for those who are don’t have kids and in the peak of health, healthcare may not be the most important factor but being able to have a slightly more flexible working environment may be key. If you are self employed these are still important questions. Decide which clients to take not only on how much they pay you, but the benefits you receive from working with them. Things like hours and how often you are “on call” make a difference to your daily lifestyle.
Ability for advancement is also important when looking for a new job. Frustration and lack of personal satisfaction often comes when people feel like there is no where to go. Don’t settle for a job that is a dead end. Work for a company that offers you the ability to grow your talents and as you learn, take on new responsibilities. Otherwise you may find yourself looking for another job shortly. If you are self employed seek out clients that enable you to learn new skills. By increasing your knowledge you will grow as an individual and become more valuable to future clients.
Understand why you want a change and what you have to offer before you set out on a job search. We all have a touch of the entrepreneurial mindset within us – the ability to create the world we want. If you are not satisfied with your current job or client list, use 2013 as the opportunity to change your life. Too often we let fear dictate our decisions, but fear never leads to happiness. Take the leap to find and create the career you always wanted.
Anna Christina says
For me, satisfaction also considers what works best with my current life phase. When I was young, the long hours of a large company was a good fit because I learned a lot and had better access to formal trainings. My most recent phase is that I moved to a smaller company ($800M vs $35B) for a better work/life balance now that we’re thinking about starting a family. I don’t have the same number of career path options, but I’ve found them to be more proactive about my growth because I’m more than just a number.