Before you send one more job application or write one more cover letter, ask yourself, do you know what your LIFE priorities are? If you can’t answer this question, take the next few minutes to read on. Knowing your priorities is paramount to ensuring you accept the best-matched job for yourself.
Notice how we say life priorities, not career priorities. In today’s tech-driven world, everyone and everything is accessible. There is no longer a division between your professional and personal lives. What role does work play for you in your life? This is a question you need to ask yourself when you evaluate opportunities in your job search process. Keep in mind that the answer to this question will change over time depending on the life stages you go through. LinkedIn published a study finding that “75% of 25-33 year old’s have experienced a quarter-life crisis, often related to feeling like they are at a crossroad in their career.”
Here is a 3-step process to help to avoid that quarter-life career crisis:
- Identify: Think about your life as a pie. Some obvious slices: career, family, friends/social life, health, travel, charity, romantic life, spirituality, and side hustles/passion projects. Identify your slices and how important each are to you.
- Consider: Focusing on the career slice and how it fits into your life, below are common factors to consider when evaluating a career move:
- Money – Everyone wants to make more money, and for some, it’s the main driver for choosing a job. When money is the primary factor in a career decision it typically doesn’t lead to job satisfaction: Glassdoor found “across all income levels, the top predictor of workplace satisfaction is not pay: It is the culture and values of the organization, followed closely by the quality of senior leadership and the career opportunities at the company.” However, if you are truly in a situation where you need to take a job for the money, keep in mind some of the implications that can come with it.
- Prestige – Job titles aren’t as consistent as they used to be and with the increasing number of companies with flat organizational structures, job seekers can’t always take a title for face value anymore. titles really do as they can dictate future career paths. For others, a title means nothing, and the focus is on the actual job at hand. While a prestigious job title can psychologically make us feel good and important it can also be meaningless – it’s up to you to decide if this is a priority given your career path.
- Purpose – Every job has a purpose to someone; it’s a matter of figuring out what you want your purpose to be to find a best-matched job for yourself. There are some people who are willing to take a pay cut to live a certain purpose, others are not, figure out where you stand on this and what’s most important to you and your goals.
- Hours – Are you looking for flexibility or a strict 9-5? Maybe you’re someone who is willing to sacrifice a raise or title for the ability to leave at 5pm on the dot every day to see your kids or live a freelancer lifestyle for the opportunity to make your own hours. On the flip side, maybe you are someone who is putting in extra hours to advance your career quicker. Whichever type you are, make sure to ask the right questions in the search process, so you find the right opportunity for your lifestyle.
- Location – Think about whether you are commute sensitive. Are you willing to do whatever is needed to commute to your “dream job?” For some, it’s no big deal, it’s time to read or take care of emails, and for others, no dream job is worth a treacherous commute. This is a factor that isn’t going to change (unless the company moves its office) and is hopefully the easiest thing to evaluate.
- Leadership – Some roles offer leadership opportunities, others don’t. Depending on where you are in your career think about what will benefit you for the long term and frankly what type of role you want to have – are you the leader or are you looking for a mentor? In the interview process, pay attention to the current leadership and their styles.
- Culture – Company culture isn’t defined by flashy coffee makers and beer taps, it’s the environment fostered by the core company values. We spend most of our living hours at work, it’s critical to screen for the culture in the interview process to ensure you are joining a place where you feel you can be happy.
- Benefits – Benefits packages can come in all shapes and sizes. Typically, it’s inappropriate to ask about benefits upfront in an interview process, but if there are certain benefits that are crucial for your well-being such as specific health care benefits keep this in mind as you evaluate opportunities.
- Prepare: You have now identified the different slices of your life, their importance, and how certain factors of a job can take priority over others. The final step is to prepare yourself to ask relevant and telling questions in the interview process. Those questions can help ensure you are fully confident when you accept a job that it’s the right one for you and where you are in that moment. Working with a recruiter can be extremely helpful in providing insight on these factors by avoiding awkward/inappropriate questions upfront, and can help to avoid wasting time on opportunities that don’t hit on your priorities.
The Point: Be real with yourself and ask the right questions! Working for a company on a “top companies to work for” list may be a priority for some, but unless it’s helping you reach your goals or satisfying your priorities, it’s meaningless. Whether it’s making enough money to pay off your student loans or shortening your commute to spend more time with the family go for jobs that will fulfill these needs. Find what’s right for you and only you, don’t let a brand name or ratings list determine where you should spend the majority of your living days!
Looking for a tailored career exploration experience? The team at Landing Point knows how to ask the right questions of its candidates and clients to ensure a proper match is made. Over 90% of our permanent placements are still working at the companies we’ve placed them at since Landing Point started in April 2015! Email us at [email protected] for more information and follow us on LinkedIn for career insights, job postings, and job search and hiring related content. Tell us…what are your priorities?