The modern economy can be a pretty unforgiving place, especially for recent graduates and young people who haven’t yet found their place in the world. In an environment like that, it can also be difficult to avoid settling for a job that isn’t really the right fit. Unfortunately, there are people all over who have done just that and find themselves toiling away at unfulfilling jobs that hold no meaning to them or are antithetical to their values.
To avoid falling into that kind of trap, you should take some time to weigh your options when applying for jobs or mulling offers from employers. You’ll need to resist the urge to jump at opportunities, no matter how tempting they might seem, or your lack of due diligence could come back to haunt you. When choosing a job, here are three questions you should always ask first.
The first thing to think about when considering a job is if the company’s values match your own. That can go a long way towards determining if you’ll be likely to thrive in your new job. For example, you may not want to get involved in a company that’s known for unethical practices, so make sure to check out the business’s reputation before you commit to a decision. You may even be surprised to find that some of the world’s best-known companies hold themselves to high moral and ethical standards, and could be a good fit. Try not to get discouraged if your skills make you suited to a career in an industry where ethics isn’t a top concern. In many cases, it is within those industries that you can find the best opportunities. For instance, if you’re looking into a career in the jewelry industry, consider a position working to improve and enforce the Kimberley Process, which is helping to improve the ethical standards in that industry all around the world.
If you’ve identified a job that looks like it could be a good fit for you, you will do well to consider if that job will allow you room for growth. You’ll need it if you plan to stay engaged with your work and to continue building out your skill set. To answer this question, explore your potential employer’s professional development offerings, and don’t be afraid to ask about the company’s policy regarding lateral movement and promotions. In today’s tight labor market, you should find that most businesses value employees that want to better themselves, and some even offer robust professional development programs that would have been unheard of a few short years ago.
It may sound trite, but the old saying, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” is actually pretty sage advice. If you can find work that you enjoy doing, you will stand a much better chance of thriving in a new position. Of course, in reality, your job will still be work – but you’ll feel much more content doing it. That is only half of the equation, though. For a work environment to remain a positive experience, the people you’re going to be working with should have a similar level of passion for the work as you. To find out if they are, you’ll need to try and interact with as many of the company’s employees as possible before you accept a position. Ask them about what they do, and see if their responses indicate that they genuinely love telling you everything you want to know. If so, you may have found a great work environment to join.
It’s important to remember that in work, as in life, there are no guarantees. By seeking answers to the questions laid out here when you’re hunting for the perfect job, you should improve your odds of landing in a good situation. If not, you should always remember that you’re not stuck. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average employee tenure currently hovers at around 4%, so if you feel the need to change jobs, you will hardly be alone. That’s also why you should never be afraid to keep exploring the job market, and never settle for anything less than a job you love. If you stay true to yourself throughout the process, you will come out on top, no matter what – and that’s what really counts in the end.