You see a job posting for a position that seems interesting.
You have many of the skills the company wants. The job responsibilities listed are interesting to you, and the pay and flexibility parameters tick your boxes.
But still, you don’t get that spark. Should you ignore your gut feeling and put in an application anyway? Maybe your initial impression will be proven wrong.
Or maybe you’ve got a job offer and are still on the fence about taking the position. The job isn’t totally wrong, but you’re also not over the moon about it. When does your hesitation provide valuable information, and when should you overlook your concerns?
Society often tells us that we should be overjoyed at our jobs each and every day. But in fact, very few people are actually passionate about their jobs. Though about half of the employees reported being “very satisfied” with their work, only 20 percent said they were passionate.
So, if you’re not delighted to go to work every day or thrilled about a job offer, you might be concerned. If you’re looking for a new role or considering leaving the one you have, how can you know if a job is right for you?
The position fits in with your values and mission.
Before you embark on any job hunting or career evaluation, it’s important to know what you want out of your employment.
This is a two-part visioning activity. First, figure out what you want to spend a lot of your life doing. Do you want to work at an organization that supports sustainability or education? Do you want your organization to have certain benefits for employees?
Next, think about what you need to be successful from your coworkers and company.
Once you’ve established your values and preferences, then you have a neutral rubric on which you can rate each position you’re considering.
“For each value that you see as essential, how does this job rank? It’s OK if it doesn’t rank high in every category, but if it doesn’t satisfy several key values, it may be a sign that your excitement is more about simply getting a job offer – but not necessarily this job offer,” said Kathryn Minshew and Alex Cavoulacos.
The role offers you an appealing work/life balance.
Many professionals are searching for more flexible positions that let them focus on their priorities outside of work.
Others are seeking jobs that offer them reasonable hours and less stress than some roles require.
So, if the position you’re considering wants you to have a life outside of the office, it might be worth a second look.
To figure this out, ask your prospective employer what a typical day would look like for someone in your would-be role. You should also come right out and ask if the employer would support you in the flexibility you’d expect; for instance, do you want the freedom to attend your children’s after-school activities or take care of an ailing family member?
Your current or potential role gives you pathways to develop your career.
Professionals are dissatisfied when their roles don’t offer them learning and development opportunities.
Specifically, 89 percent of them felt that “skills are more important than job titles. This data indicates that people are looking to work for a company that will help them further develop as a professional while providing the tools and training necessary to succeed,” said career expert Blair Decembrele.
What’s more, some employees felt less content with their positions if they knew they couldn’t advance at their organizations.
“One factor that helps people to stay driven in their current position is knowing there is an opportunity for growth. For example, if you work as a marketing associate at a fast-growing company, find out if there are opportunities for you to join new company-wide projects on a regular basis and potentially progress into a managerial role,” Decembrele added.
So, when you’re researching a position, consider if the company you’re applying to has professional learning and development programs in place. What’s more, is there a career track at the organization that appeals to you?
If the role you’re considering has both of these, it’s a sure sign you’re on the right track.
The job feels right.
A job posting can tick all of your boxes.
It can match your values to a tee and give you the professional growth opportunities you’re seeking. But for whatever reason, it still might not feel right.
If an opportunity isn’t clicking for you at any stage in the process, from the job application to the interview, take that internal red flag seriously. Your intuition strongly indicates your future happiness or unhappiness in a role.
“Before you think about negotiating or even get into the details, take a moment to consider your initial reaction to the offer and the job itself…Ask yourself how you felt when you first got the offer. Was it exciting? Disappointed? Something else? Your answer can be incredibly revealing about whether this is the right opportunity for you or not,” suggested Julia Malacoff.
When You’ve Decided a Job Is Right for You
A job that’s right for you might not be wonderful every day.
But if a prospective role matches your values, gives you a healthy work/life balance and ways to develop yourself, and feels right, give it serious thought. While you might have been led to believe you should be deliriously happy in your job, embrace the attitude of good enough when deciding whether or not to accept a new position.
If you’re ready to accept an offer, you probably already recognize the salary offer will make or break whether the job is right for you. Before you take the next step, read our guide, “The Essential Guide to Negotiating a Job Offer.”