Let’s get tactical in defining and understanding what you want out of your work life with a simple 3 step process to get you started!
Ready to ask yourself (and your interviewer) all the right questions?
A crucial component of professional trajectory is discovering what fuels your work. Whether you are starting a career or making a necessary change after decades, identifying your deal breakers and non-negotiables is imperative.
We work with people who are shaking things up and making both major and seemingly minor changes all the time. Regardless of the magnitude, change is change, and when you are in the midst of it, it can be hard to take a step back, pause long enough feel in control. Being reactive to opportunities that present themselves or ideas of others can become loud and anxiety provoking.
You control your career.
Taking time to get clear about what you want from a job or company - before getting emotionally attached - will allow for a proactive approach with you in control. Find where you feel most fulfilled in your work, and avoid any dreaded hiree’s remorse! (I have been there myself!)
STEP 1: DOCUMENT IT
Now, take out a piece of paper, and get ready to do a judgment-free braindump.
Don’t overthink it.
Think about it later! Right now, you just need to get words on paper.
The true value lies in being honest with yourself about what fuels your work. There is no “one size fits all,” but you do have to uncover your distinct career priorities to know where to look.
Try to honestly answer these questions to get you started.
Why are you looking for a job or a new job? (This may seem obvious, but get detailed!)
What did you enjoy most in your past roles?
What were pain points and your least favorite responsibilities in prior roles?
What were some strengths in your prior bosses/team members?
What do you look for in a manager?
What kind of relationship do you want to have with work?
Do you have a certain salary number in mind? (How important is the number to you?)
What kind of growth do you want to have? What does growth look like?
What is important to you in a work culture?
What does your perfect work environment look like?
What will it take for you to feel like you are doing something important in your work?
No answers are wrong!
What fuels your work can be centered around your lifestyle, personality, personal interests, the work you do, or the kind of company you work for.
STEP 2: RANK IT
Next, order the answers from the above questions in a hierarchy of your wants. Start with absolute deal breakers (must-haves) and continue down until you get to aspects of a job which would be nice additions to your necessary baseline.
Ordering your priorities provides some great direction, but don’t stop there.
STEP 3: UNDERSTAND IT
Finally, reflect on your answers and ask yourself “Why?” for each. For example, if your main priority for finding a new job is moving to another, take a closer look to discover what work will fulfill you instead. It is important to move away from unhealthy work environments, but finding your preferences will ensure you focus on honoring yourself and your skills to ultimately break the cycle.
Digging deeper by understanding your “Why?” will empower your decisions and approach (and may even give you some talking points for interviews and professional conversations).
As you narrow in on what matters most to you as a job-seeker, my simple reminder is DON’T SETTLE. Prioritize honoring what makes you feel most fulfilled.
Regardless of where you are in your career, you owe it to yourself to discover and use your individual fuel.
Want more guidance on discovering what uniquely fuels your work?