Maybe you’ve said to yourself in recent weeks that “After the New Year, I’m going to start looking for a new job/career/freelance opportunity.” The start of a new year represents a fresh start on the goals and intentions we have in mind to change things up for the better, and a departure from the mindset of pushing things to the back-burner. So it’s time to move on – but to where?
When I work with a new client, it’s important for me to get into your head, find out what’s going on professionally and personally, what’s eating at you about your current situation, and where do you see yourself wanting to go next? Believe it or not, it’s very common that people are just unable to answer that last question, the “where do I want to go next?” one with complete confidence. Usually I’ll get bits and pieces – what industries they like, what kind of company culture appeals to them, examples of specific companies they think they’d fit into, but not so much the big picture itself. Everyone has an idea of the type of company they might want to work for – but what do you want to do there? You can’t sell yourself and your value until you’re able to answer that question.
When you’re stuck on the “What next?” questions, and feel like you’re floating from job description to job description, hoping that something both piques your interest and speaks to your skills sets, trying employing an exercise I refer to as Your Non-Negotiables. These are the individual building blocks that make up the foundation of a job or career that you’ll find both satisfying, and that you thrive in. First, list your top 5 “Must Have” Non-Negotiables – the aspects of your job or career that you know have to be there in order for you to be happy.
Things I need to have in my next role to be able to thrive:
- Work-life balance
- A small office environment that allows me to wear multiple hats
- Client-facing responsibilities
- Room for growth within the company
- Opportunity to build upon my presentation skills
Then do the same thing with your top 5 “Must Avoid” Non-Negotiables. These are the aspects that maybe you’ve experienced before, or know for certain will hinder your performance, your satisfaction, and your ability to thrive.
Things I absolutely won’t tolerate in my next position:
- Large corporate structure
- Companies within finance or healthcare sectors
- Any type of sales-focused responsibility
- More than 25 miles commute
- Organizations with no philanthropic involvement
Understanding the most basic core values that you need to honor in order to thrive in your role will not only serve as a roadmap for helping you find the right types of opportunities for you, but it will also help you avoid the urge to apply to anything and everything you seem qualified for. If you have the flexibility and ability to do so, hold out for the right position, one that speaks to not only your best professional talents and attributes but your personal values as well. In doing so you significantly increase your chances of success!