Finding A Job You Love
Next week will mark one whole year since I started my current job. It was a total leap into the unknown - leaving a safe, secure job at one of the biggest and most well regarded companies in the world to take on an undefined role at a tech startup with less than 30 people. Lots of people thought I was mad (and not just because I agreed to start the week before Christmas), but 12 months on, I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Finding a new job is a tough process. Finding a new job that you love is even tougher. I knew that I was “open to new opportunities” for about a year before I left my previous job. I spoke to recruiters and went for interviews and was even offered a role elsewhere, but it wasn’t until my current role came along that I felt ready to take the leap. Don’t get me wrong - I was still nervous that I wouldn’t fit in or that things wouldn’t work out, but deep down I had a gut feeling that this was the right job for me at this stage in my career.
And so today, I wanted to write about that process a little bit and share some tips I picked up along the way. Because most of us spend the majority of our lives at work, so it’s only right that we should be hunting out those jobs that make us feel challenged, fulfilled and happy, right? Here’s everything I know about finding a job you love…
1) Consider what you want and need right now
It’s so easy to start the job search by simply looking for similar roles in different companies - I know because that’s exactly how I started my job search. But the truth is, if you’re feeling unsatisfied in your current position, chances are that simply changing the scenery won’t make you any happier.
Spend some time really thinking about what you love about your current role and what you don’t enjoy so much. What skills would you like to develop? Is progression really important for you, or do you care more about feeling valued? We’re easily swayed by things like salary or fancy titles, but getting clear on what you want out of the job itself will set you up for a smoother transition.
For me, I knew that I wanted more autonomy in my role - the downside to working for a big company is that there are always so many layers of bureaucracy to cut through. I also knew that I wanted the opportunity to lead a team, and having variety in my role was really important to me. Being really clear on those things helped me to stay focussed on what I needed my next role to deliver for me, and meant I wasn’t swayed by money or sales pitches from recruiters.
2) Be picky
Which leads me nicely on to my next point - be picky! Moving jobs can cause a lot of stress and upheaval in your life, and you don’t want to take that on unless you’re really sure that it’s the right next step for you. It’s so tempting once you’ve made the decision to start the job hunt to want to rush things along, but sometimes being patient can really pay off in the long term.
Remember that the interview process is just as much about finding out whether the company and role is a good fit for you as it is about them understanding your experience and skills - don’t be afraid to ask questions about culture or progression or training opportunities. Do as much research as you possibly can to make sure your little checklist of wants and needs will be met.
And don’t be afraid to turn an offer down or tell a recruiter to back off if you know you’re not feeling it - it might feel awkward at the time, but it’ll save you a lot more heartache and anxiety in the long run!
3) Consider new and different opportunities
I think one of the biggest things that stands in the way of us finding jobs we love is our egos. We spend so long building our careers and reputations and naturally, we don’t want to sacrifice that. We place value on our job titles and our promotions and our responsibilities, and it can be scary to make a change or explore opportunities that take us in a different direction. But sometimes a change is exactly what we need.
This was something I definitely had to get over during my job hunt - I had a very well respected, corporate job at The Walt Disney Company, and for a long time, I thought my next step needed to be something that carried similar weight. I won’t lie - I enjoyed the little thrill that came with telling people where I worked, and I worried that moving to somewhere less well known would somehow feel like a step backwards to me.
But once I got over that barrier and started opening myself up to new and different opportunities, my whole outlook on the job hunting process changed. I realised that if I was working for the very best company in my industry and still wasn’t happy, simply hopping on over to another big corporate probably wasn’t going to make me feel any more satisfied. That’s when I started to get excited about the variety and opportunities a smaller company could offer.
4) Trust your gut
My last tip for finding a job you love is to always, always trust your gut. As I mentioned earlier on, navigating the world of careers and jobs can be tricky - everyone has their opinion on what a “good job” looks like, and it can be easy to get caught up in the thoughts and opinions of friends, parents or peers.
But you’re the one who’s going to have to sit at a desk everyday doing the job, so you need to make sure it’s right for you. If something doesn’t feel quite right, trust your gut and question why. If you’re super excited by an opportunity but on paper it doesn’t look as reputable, don’t dismiss it straight away. Work through your thoughts and feelings and see what your gut is trying to tell you.
You can make all the pros and cons lists in the world, but chances are you probably know from the very first interview if this is a job you’d love or not - you just have to choose to listen to yourself.
What do you think? Do you have any top tips for finding a job you love?