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The Great Resignation has been a long time coming. Years of burnout, low pay and cultures of punishment and fear can make the workplace an undesirable way to spend the majority of your waking hours. But in a capitalist economy that requires us to make and spend money, we must find ways to engage in some kind of work.
Defining Your Current Purpose And Choosing Meaningful Work
Choosing meaningful work is not a one-and-done choice. It’s only a choice for now, and it’s important to be clear about your purpose before making your choice. It’s not about your life purpose or even your career purpose, but simply your purpose for right now. This can include making enough money to pay your bills, learning a skill to improve your career options while making money, starting a business that you want to grow or taking a temporary job that allows you the space to work on your self-image and self-confidence. It’s important to have a clear purpose that is reasonable for where you are now, not necessarily where you would like to be in five or 10 years.
Once you are clear on your current purpose, then you can identify your skills, personal attributes and desires for being of service to others to identify the possible jobs you would like to apply for. Be creative, ask friends for their feedback and ideas, and be open and expansive about the kind of work you want to do along with the kind of organizations that could use your talent.
Finding A Job You Love That Loves You Back
Taking a job is always a two-way street, where both parties need to “feel the love” to have a lasting positive relationship. Start by identifying all the reasons a new employer will love you—not just for your skills, but also for the aspects of your attitude and behavior that will be beneficial to the company you want to join.
- How will you demonstrate a service mindset—being of support to others?
- How will you support your teammates in being successful in their jobs?
- How will you communicate with your boss, your teammates and others in your organization?
- How will you communicate and serve internal or external customers?
- How will you respond to problems, take initiative to prevent problems and support others dealing with challenges?
- How will you make sure to show up on time and complete your assignments with quality and timely precision?
- How will you ask questions rather than struggle to figure out what is needed?
- When you have a problem, how will you surface it in a productive and positive manner?
Once you are clear with answering “What’s in it for the company to hire me?” you can identify “What’s in it for me to work with that company?”
This is where you draw on your purpose to clarify your top priorities, middle priorities and like-to-have priorities for accepting a job. You may not get everything you desire, so it’s important that you clarify for yourself what is negotiable and what is not negotiable for accepting a position with a company.
Some of the common considerations for taking a job include:
- Is the culture one you can enjoy working in—especially your boss and teammates, but also the departments that you will be connected to?
- What is their approach to developing you—your skills, your communication, your teamwork, etc.? All are important for your future.
- What will the company expect of you in terms of working overtime, filling in for vacant positions, flexible hours and any other working conditions?
- What are they expecting of you, and do they have any concerns about you that you can address? This will give you a sense of expectations and challenges before you even start the job.
- What’s the likelihood for advancement, pay increases or bonuses?
Loving Your Job
Loving your job is both an inner and outer process. It starts with inner choices that you need to make each and every day you show up to work. These choices begin with attitude—entering the workplace with a sense of gratitude for having the job, being of service and being helpful to others, and feeling a sense of joy for the opportunity to be of service and make money at the same time. If you go into work begrudgingly, wishing you were somewhere else and seeking out how this company isn’t living up to your expectations, you will be miserable and likely make others miserable as well.
Generally, no job or company is perfect. Focus on the positive attributes, keeping in mind your purpose. If you don’t have the best boss, seek out a mentor you can befriend who is a peer to your boss. Spend more time with the teammates you can learn from, who support you and who will receive your support. Remember that this job is a stepping stone in your career life, and if you are learning, making money and demonstrating a positive, can-do attitude, you are preparing yourself for a better job in the future, similar to being in the minor leagues of a professional team before getting to the majors.
Ultimately, if you decide to leave your job and company for a better opportunity or because the job and company are not a fit for you (which is a more painful experience), you want to know that you gave your best effort with your attitude, service, support and performance. You want to make sure that you go out at the top of your game and take that energy into your job search or your next job/company. Remember that each job and company you work for gives you the opportunity to hone your skills, expand your abilities, build inner confidence and learn to deal with adversity in a positive way that serves your life and your future employer.
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This article was first published as a Forbes Coaches Council Post.