What we truly believe about ourselves greatly influences the choices we make, the clarity we have on what we want (and don’t want), and the confidence we bring to our work everyday. We hope you get value from this post and please leave a comment below!
If there’s one thing we’ve learned since March 2020, it’s that a huge swath of workers don’t love what they’ve been doing, hence the Great Resignation. One major reason for this is that Work From Home (WFH) has allowed people the time and space to really assess what’s important to them. Plus, the pandemic has been life or death. People are dying from this tragedy and that is pretty sobering.
So, as we take stock of what really matters to us, we have a few questions to ask ourselves like:
- Since I have a finite number of days on this Earth, what percent of them do I want to spend in a car /train /plane for work?
- Do I end my work day feeling energized or just exhausted?
- Would you tell your child to manage their career the way you’re managing yours currently?
- Are the people and issues you most care about getting the best of your time and talent?
If these kinds of questions get your attention – then today is a great day! The esteemed English academic and theologian C.S.Lewis once said, “if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”
The points above focus mainly on where does work fit into your broader life. Next, we’ll drill down on this a bit with respect to the actual work you’re doing and who you’re doing it with and for.
Many folks engaged in a job search want a job, any job. Depending on how long one has been in transition, the feeling of desperation can be overwhelming. To hell with my convictions man, I just need a job!
For others who are currently working, there is an overwhelming sense of meh. It’s not awesome, it’s not terrible, it just is what it is.
Or maybe it actually does suck because you have a toxic boss or a culture that doesn’t treat people with the respect they deserve.
But wouldn’t you really rather be working on something that aligns with your skills, values, and passions? Too often we compromise because we don’t take the time to see uninspiring work for what it is. Or, we’re like a prisoner who doesn’t know the cell door key is just outside the door. We don’t leave because we don’t know how.
You have choices, you always have choices.
So, having considered our convictions as they relate to 1) where does work fit into my life and 2) do I actually care about my work. Now, let’s look at staying true to our convictions even in the heat of an interview. As we said, depending on how long you’ve been in a job search or how disheartened you might feel about your employment prospects, one might have the tendency to say or agree to most anything.
- Are you open to traveling 50% of the time?
- Do you mind commuting into the city 3 days a week?
- Can you WFH and just Zoom with your colleagues 100% of the time?
- Are you OK with making 70% of your last role’s compensation?
- Do you think you can tolerate your new boss’s brash tone?
- Is it a problem if you don’t have much influence on how decisions get made here?
- Do you mind being a one-woman Marketing department?
I could go on but you get the idea. The problem with not being honest with yourself is that you have to live with the consequences. Either you suck it up and grind it out, or in a few months you burn out and find yourself looking for a job all over again.
So what do you do?
It is far better to keep a firm grasp of your non-negotiables than to compromise. The more real opportunities you are working on (i.e., not merely applying for roles online), the less susceptible you will be to say Yes to a situation that doesn’t align with your needs. Thankfully, the balance of power is shifting from Employers to Talent. Companies are becoming more flexible as they realize that to attract great candidates like you, they need to be more accommodating. If you encounter an “opportunity” that doesn’t mesh well with your convictions, move on. Like in any good relationship, when you find the right one, you’ll know it.