More than half of the population really can’t stand their job right now. That’s not a change; it’s a fairly constant statistic. It’s also very sad to think that the majority of people spend so much time of each day being somewhat miserable. The concern many of those same people have is leaving one bad situation only to jump into another one equally as bad.
How do so many of us make such bad job choices? And is there anything we can do to avoid another bad decision?
Let’s look at some of the causes of bad job decisions:
No real thinking or planning. Countless people want a great job and career but put less thought to planning their career than planning a vacation. Really? You need to spend time thinking through your direction and how you will get there. This should be an ongoing process throughout your career life. This needs to include the elements of what you want in a great job and work environment.
Not very deliberate. When you speak to enough people about how they found their job, you will hear many endless stories about “I just wanted to find something”. With that kind of a strategy you will find something, but it might not be worth finding. Give some thought to what job or work environment would be best for you then pursue that job.
Nothing focused. Too infatuated. Admit it; you love people who love you. When you get recruited it’s a very heady experience and difficult to resist. Even if we aren’t recruited but simply “chosen” from the masses of other competitors, it’s flattering and we feel irresistibly drawn to that employer. Notice the romantic references because the process is very much like being courted. It’s hard to say “NO”. If this is happening, be aware of it and give yourself a breather so you can think straighter.
Here are some things you can do to help you make good job decisions:
Do your homework. Even if you have done your career planning and are about to take the next well-planned step in your career, you have to do some research about the people and group with whom you are interviewing. You need to understand how the group works and what kind of culture exists. While you will never find out everything until you work in the group, you can find enough information to give you some idea of “how things really work”. You want to have some idea of how the manager operates and the culture. More than anything else, these two elements shape how well you will like your job.
Seek good counsel. When we get a job offer of course we’re excited and want to share that news with others. We don’t often think to seek the counsel of someone who knows us and is willing to ask us the tough questions to help make this decision as good as it can be. Other people see things we don’t always see about the job, employer and ourselves. Before jumping ahead, we need someone who will be open, honest and ask us the good questions.
Don’t ignore your instincts. We all have them, and all too often we blow them off. Pay attention to what your “gut” is telling you about this job opportunity, because it’s probably right.
Don’t let your fears dictate your choices. If you have a history of making some bad career decisions, go back to your history to figure out what you could have known better ahead of time. Don’t let your history be your primary decision driver. Learn from your mistakes and let that knowledge help guide you to a great decision this time.
Think of your career decision-making abilities like increasing a skill set that needs to be developed or improved. If you plan your career, give each move some thought and do your homework, the outcome will be better than ever before.