Starting where we left off…here! I’m now over three months into my new job, but nowhere close to finishing out this series. I’m a firm believer in finishing things that I start though. I believe that was also one of my New Years resolutions so onwards we go!
Over the holidays, I met up with someone who I’ve sort of looked up to career-wise. Not only did we graduate from the same university, but she had the most impressive resume having worked at two very successful large tech companies and a startup that I used to think was my dream job, and we shared a love for food AND blogging. I wasn’t quite sure what would come out of this info chat, but I was so grateful that she took the time to sit down with me. In our conversation, I remember her asking me a fairly simple question. In fact, it’s the same question that I have asked my own candidates time and time again, but yet when it came time for me to answer it myself, I couldn’t find the words.
“What are you looking for in a job?”
The reason why this was so challenging for me was because the last time I had to answer this question, I was in a different place in my life. I was 23 and I wanted to work in tech for a product that I had used. Pretty generic. I also was leaving all my friends and family behind in Seattle so I wanted friends in my new city. I was young and I wasn’t ready to think about my career long term. I’m not saying that this was the wrong way to go about it, but it’s one way to approach finding a job. Looking back, I still don’t think I would’ve done anything differently, but it was vastly different than how I was feeling back in January of this year. At that point, I felt like I was at a crossroads. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue down this career path, but I also didn’t know what else I should be doing. Annie told me that when looking for a job, you typically have a few things that are important to you (true) but that they could be of varying importance depending on the company (something new that I learned!)
Here were the things that were most important to me: (in no particular order)
- Who would I be reporting to and what would it be like to have them manage me?
- Would I enjoy working alongside my team? How integrated into the company are they? Are they respected by the rest of the company?
- Do I believe in the product and the mission of the company?
- Is the company culture a good one? Do I feel valued and respected as a member of this team?
- Compensation – is it fair and aligned with the responsibilities that I’ll be having?
- Impact – how much will my work matter in the company?
These may be some of the things you also consider when looking for a job. You may care about more or less than what I have. The part that was surprising to me was that there is no particular order. Company A might allow me to have the most impact I’ve ever had in a role while Company B might have a team that makes me feel at home every day that I come in. They are different things, sure, but my feelings towards these two things might be so strong that it can make a decision like this very challenging. All six components were important to me and no one thing was more important than the other, but it was all different for every company. When I was early on in my career, maybe only one of these things mattered to me. I’ve been told that as you get older and progress further on in your career, you continue to learn more about what you want. That is probably why I have six things to consider now, but that search to find the right job becomes even tougher!
I have a couple more posts that I’d like to share in this series, but before I go on is there anything you’d like for me to focus on? I’d love to include it if I haven’t already!