I firmly believe that our pets can teach us a great deal about life, and in this case, work and the job search process. Animals give us another lens and perspective through which to view the world around us and ourselves as well. I confess that I am a dog person and not a cat guy. That may alienate half of my subscriber base, but I believe in 100% transparency! So, no cat photos in this article. Just one dog photo and a video.
I take my dog, Rigby, for a walk every afternoon. In the life of Rigby, the daily walk is his job. Eating, sleeping, and playing are activities that he does whenever presented with the opportunity. But the walk? The time and course are predetermined by a third party, much the same as our employer often decides our work location and hours.
Mid-way through our daily walk, we reach an empty expanse of grass where I can let Rigby off-leash. He has arrived at his place of employment. He is now free. No micro-management from his manager. The choices are his own. And yet he starts his “work day” with the same routine every day. Obligatory dog video inserted here!
Rigby loves his work. And that got me to thinking, what steps can we take in the job search process to ensure that we find an organization and work that we can enjoy as much as Rigby loves his daily walk?
I retired two years ago from a mid-cap software and technology company. It was my 18th year with the same organization. That is a lifetime in today’s increasingly mobile and entrepreneurial job market! I had several opportunities over those two decades to leave for more money and a more significant title. But I stayed. There were indeed times I wanted to leave. Frustration, anger, a desire for something different. But it was always the organizational culture and most importantly, the people, that pulled me back to home.
As you complete your job search process and consider that next job offer, beyond the essential financial requirements, there are five critical non-monetary factors you should consider. These aspects will play a significant role in your love for the job and the organization.
#1 - Career Goal Match:
Do the job title and position description match the career plans and goals that you documented in your job search plan? Take the time to verify that the primary position requirements will position you to gain the relevant experience needed for even more senior positions along your target career path.
#2 - Direct Management Fit:
If you received a job offer, that likely means that you have had at least one interview with your potential manager. If you have not had an opportunity to meet the individual to whom you will report in the new position, that situation should be a red warning flag to consider before accepting the job offer. You need to be comfortable that you can work for your new manager and that this manager is a person that you can respect and learn from every day at work.
#3 - Team Level Fit:
Throughout the interview and hiring process, you should have had the opportunity to meet with potential teammates and coworkers in the new position. If you have not had a chance to meet with your new team members, consider requesting some 1:1 meetings before accepting the offer. You will be spending over a third of your time every day with these individuals and need to be sure that you will fit well as a member of this new team. Be sure that these new team members will welcome you, motivate you, and inspire you to continue your career development.
#4 - Organization Culture Fit:
In your interview preparation, you should have completed research on the culture of your target organization. Having completed the interview and hiring process, you will now have a more in-depth and realistic view of the organizational culture in which you will work every day. Does that enhanced view match up and reinforce your initial research? Will you be proud to tell others that you work for this organization after accepting the job offer?
#5 - Career Development Opportunities:
Your primary focus is on the job for which you received the offer. A conservative assumption is that you will spend 18 to 24 months in this next job. It is crucial, however, to understand what the career development path is from this position to broader or more senior assignments. Does this organization have a formal internal career development program? Will you have an opportunity to expand your skills and experience with tasks outside of your defined position? What can you expect as a career path timeline and trajectory within this organization?
After you have worked through the answers to these five questions, you will be on solid ground to make your offer acceptance decision. You may not stay for two decades. But you should find yourself “rolling in the grass” most days at work. Just like Rigby. We should all be so lucky!
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Dan Troup is the Managing Director of the AdvantEdge Careers coaching service. If you are interested in learning more about how a job search expert and certified career coach can assist you, please contact AdvantEdge Careers for a free initial consultation.