How to find a job you’ll love
by Alexander Kjerulf
Is your new years resolution to find a new job? Congratulations, you’re
not alone! According to statistics, around 15% of the population switch jobs
annually. At any given time, over half of the workforce are more or less actively
looking for new work.
This means that many, many people are facing an interesting question: How do
I pick my next job? Which factors should matter? Which should I forget about?
Many make the decision based mostly on salary, titles and responsibilities.
That’s a mistake.
Instead ask yourself this: Will your next job inspire you, energize you and
allow you to do great work? Will you be working with nice, talented people and
managers? Will your job help people out and make the world a better place?
In short, make sure that your next job is one that will make you happy at work.
Here are the steps you should take to make sure that your next job will be just
that amazingly great!
1: Decide to switch sooner rather than later
No one has ever told me “I quit Company X in June, that was a
mistake. I should’ve stuck around longer.” The vast majority of
people who quit, only wish they’d done it sooner.
It’s highly tempting to hang around in the old workplace waiting for things
to get better. Don’t! If it’s time to go - make that decision and
start actively looking for something else. The longer you stay in a bad job,
the more it eats away the energy and self-confidence you need to find a new
2: Give yourself time to find your new job
The very first job you look at may be just the right one… or it may be
Give yourself time to actively look for something better and don’t let
economic pressure, peer pressure or uncertainty force your hand.
3: Focus on what you like at work, not on what you hate
Many people switch jobs to get away from a bad situation. However, when you’re
picking a new job, it’s not enough to look at all the things you want
to avoid. Partly because there are an infinite number of things to avoid. But
mostly because even if you avoid every single bad thing, that can only guarantee
that you won’t be unhappy. To be happy at work, you also need good things,
not just the absence of bad.
The best way to find out what you want at work, is to look at what has previously
made you love your job. Here’s how you do it:
1. Think back to some specific situations, where you’ve been happy at
2. Ask yourself what made these situations possible.
3. Find out what will give you more of these great experiences in the future.
If you want to do examine this in more detail, page 3 of this workbook has a
worksheet for doing just that.
4: Ignore salary
Most people think that having a higher income would make them happier. They’re
wrong! That is the conclusion of a study by Two Princeton professors, economist
Alan B. Krueger and psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. They say
The belief that high income is associated with good mood is widespread but mostly
illusory. People with above-average income are relatively satisfied with their
lives but are barely happier than others in moment-to-moment experience, tend
to be more tense, and do not spend more time in particularly enjoyable activities.
I don’t mean to ignore the economic necessities we all face but they should
not determine what work we take. What is a 25% raise worth, if it means being
stressed, frustrated and unhappy 40/60/80 hours a week?
5: Ignore other irrelevant details
Some people choose their new job because of:
• The title. “They want to make me First Assistant Manager.”
• Perks. “They’re giving me a new car and use of the executive
• Status. “I get 8 direct reports. Today I only have 5.”
• Peer pressure. “If I take this job my husband/wife/friends/dad
will be really impressed.”
None of these factors will make you happy! Forget about them.
6: Ask for what you want
It’s a lot easier to get what you want if you actually ask for it. In
your job interviews, let them know that being happy at work matters to you,
and tell them what it takes to get you to love work.
It’s true that asking for these things may mean not getting the job, and
that’s precisely the point! If that job won’t make you happy, you
don’t want it!
7: Make that job great
It’s up to you to find a good job, and then it’s up to you to make
it a great job!
You can sit passively on your butt and wait for your co-workers and your manager
to make you happy - but that means nothing will ever happen. It’s your
1. Know what makes you happy at work
2. Tell others about it
3. Do something about it
8: Make yourself free to leave
A bad job is bad. A bad job that you can’t get out of is excruciating.
In fact, knowing that you’re free to leave can make it easier to make
a job great, as I wrote about in a previous post.
Also, reducing your expenses can be a great way to give yourself more leeway
Forget about salary, perks, titles and status. Choose your next job based on
one, single consideration: Will it make you happy? Will it make you go “Yes,
it’s Monday, I get to work!”
Do this and you’re sure to enjoy your job more, enjoy life more AND be
more successful at work.
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