Pick Your Job Like You Would Pick Your Partner
Most of us work for a considerable proportion of our lives. We’ll spend roughly 2,000 hours doing our job every year. Proportionally, it probably adds up to much more time than we spend with those we love. That’s why it’s really important to choose your career wisely.
A useful way of choosing a career is applying some of the same criteria to it that you would use when picking a partner. You don’t just settle down with anyone and allow them to share your life, and nor should you with a job that you’ll be doing for a significant amount of time.
Ask yourself the following 5 questions to check whether your job is right for you:
1. Does This Job Bring Out The Best In Me?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the head of a multinational or cleaning chicken soup dispensers for a living, does your position, and your environment allow you to be at your best? Does your job display your talents and skills, whether that’s being around people, serving others or making decisions. Does it let you show off your good side or does it turn you into a grumpy wretch? If you’re spending a large part of each day being someone you hate, it’s not the job for you.
2. Does This Job Match My Values?
It’s sometimes said that opposites attract, but that’s just not true when it comes to things like ethics. If you’re working for a company you have no respect for, or whose values you question, you’re unlikely to be happy at work or find your job fulfilling. At worst, embarking on a career which is diametrically opposed to who you are can leave you feeling drained, depressed and dead inside.
3. Will This Job Help Me Grow?
Just like a loving relationship, a good job helps us to grow as a person. It will sometimes challenge us, but not unkindly. It will sometimes test us and make us expand our comfort zone ‒ and that’s a good thing. If you’re never challenged by your job, you may find yourself getting bored or stagnating. Great jobs, like great partners, help us become better.
4. Would I Be Happy Making Sacrifices For This Job?
In most relationships there must be compromises and sacrifices, and the same is true when we find ourselves in the world of work. There may be deadlines, overtime, training days and special projects that take you away from your home life occasionally. If you absolutely love your career, or place value on it, those sacrifices will seem worth it. If you don’t, they’ll just make you feel bitter. And that’s not a happy, or productive, place to be.
5. Could I Do This Job Forever?
Admittedly, we have all most likely had temporary jobs to tide us over, just as we may have had a few imperfect but convenient relationships before finally finding our life partner. But you’re basically selling one of the most precious things you have when you do a job ‒ your time and your talents. Be really picky when picking a job. If you couldn’t stay with it forever, make sure that it gives you transferable skills that you can take over to your dream job when you get further up the career ladder.