Raise your hand if you’ve ever set out to get a job you hate?
I’m pretty sure no one has ever tried to do that, but yet still it happens. When we interview, we try our hardest to ensure this will be ‘The One’. The one that makes you love Mondays, that you won’t feel like a tool about leaving each day, that eventually you’ll retire from. But it’s like courting a mate. We spend so much time proving that we are worthy of the other person that we forget to vet them to see if they are worthing of us.
And even when we do, sometimes despite asking all the right questions to get a feel for the company culture and try to determine if it’s a good fit it still blows up. Either, if you know what behaviors are likely to sabotage your job efforts then you might be able to avoid some pitfalls. So here are 7 job picking motivators that if you follow them you are likely to hate your job.
You are welcome.
Looking for a job that fulfills you
And that salary can be used to fund activities/causes that make you feel fulfilled as a person.
Most of us are not lucky enough to find a job directly in line with our need to help others, being a part of the community or achieving our soul’s purpose. And racking your brain or switching from job to job trying to find one that will pull at your heartstrings, will likely leave you feeling depressed, frustrated and unaccomplished.
Trust me when I say this, there are only so many positions in the world that pay well enough to cover student loans and still be life-changing.
I know modern thinking is to find a job that fulfills our purpose and I’m not saying don’t try for that, but in reality, we have major bills to pay. And we might have to find our happiness where we are now, before or while we craft the life we want.
Better Way: Losen your standards on your requirements for being fulfilling. Can you take a for-profit job that does pro-bono work, community outreach or helps other organizations to do the same through sponsorship? Maybe start a blog or side hustle that meets your dreams that can turn into your main job in the future?
Bottom line: You are working to fulfill the COMPANY’S purpose. Your job is there to give you money, it has fulfilled ITS purpose. It’s what you do with the money that will fulfill YOUR purpose.
Going for the job with the highest salary but no learning/experience
We need money to pay our bills, but going for the money job that carries little to no real opportunities for learning over the expertise building job will cost you big bucks in the future. You are in your prime working years now. You are highly educated, hungry for knowledge and unintimidating to your peers. Most importantly, you are teachable. Now is not the time to try to be a cubicle rat and cruise with a monotonous but highly compensated job. If you don’t, then you end up stagnating yourself very early in the game. and it’s likely that in a few months time of doing nothing but the same work, you’ll find yourself unstimulated and unhappy.
Better Way: Get in the dirt and take the job that will give you the strongest experience in the littlest amount of time, there will be time for a higher salary on the next go when you have more skills and experience.
Most jobs you interview for will ask what your previous salary was. So negotiating a good salary from the beginning can be a crucial boost. However, many career guides say that women don’t negotiate enough for salaries. So it’s no surprise that a salary.com survey found that only 30% of women regularly negotiate for a higher salary. What’s more surprising though is that when we do, we are so bad at it that we end up asking for 30% less than our male counterparts. At least we try – but there is definitely room for improvement because this sets the tone going forward for future higher salaries. If you know you’ll be uncomfortable negotiating, will likely back down as soon as you hit resistance, and aren’t up to learning how to master it, then don’t limit yourself to the salary.
Better way: Plan to negotiate for some of the other awesome perks that will feel less intimidating to ask for. Like an extra week of vacation, flex time to work, a sign on bonus, or even a better title.
It might seem frivolous, but a higher title like lead or associate can open doors for your next position and allow you to demand a higher salary at your next gig, without having to utter a word – sweet.
And while companies might have a salary scale for your job, a sign on bonus is easy fair game. Keep it in mind, and ask for some of the side perks.
Thinking that you will be the bank security guard and eventually work your way up to bank manager is very unlikely to happen and will leave you disappointed. You could be waiting for years for that ‘perfect promotion’ which never comes. Yes, other people have done it, but they are few and far in between. Moving forward isn’t the only way to get ahead. Sometimes a lateral move or even a backward move is needed to get you where you want to go. It can sometimes be necessary like when you are changing to a different field, need more time for the family or a role with less leadership. Or just needing some additional experience in another field to catapult you to the top of the short list for a leadership position are all are great reasons to take a step to the side or even backward in order to jump forward later.
Don’t be afraid of a lateral or even a backward move if it is the right move to get where you want to eventually. And it doesn’t mean you will end up making less money.
Better Way: Always keep your eye on the industry and skills that are being looked for and align yourself to acquire those skills to so you can always remain competitive and able to move up to the end game.
If you are 100% fully qualified for a position, then what new are you going to learn to improve your resume and knowledge? You need challenges to grow your strengths, create a depth of knowledge and experience that makes you a valued member of the organization. Just like with not taking the high paid lackey job, now is not the time to coast. You’ll get pegged into doing the same thing and as the industry changes, you’ll be left behind.
Better Way: This doesn’t mean you should apply for an open dentist position after you’ve been a nurse practitioner for 10 years, but a position which you are 60 to 70% qualified for is a good number for you to start working, feel confident in your abilities but still have room to grow professionally.
You gotta stretch and learn new things to become more marketable.
Counting on annual raises
Ever heard that no man is a king among his own countrymen? Well once you work for the organization they don’t see you as a resource to be wooed any longer. In fact, the average raise for a professional employee is 3% – just enough to cover inflation – and that’s if you get it every year.
So, if you’re starting out salary suddenly doesn’t cover the bills due to an ailing parent, having kids or whatever life throws, then you can always ask for one during your performance review, but don’t expect it to be double-digit percentages. And don’t be cheesed when company bonuses don’t happen or don’t increase either.
Better Way: I’m not trying to discourage you, it certainly does happen. But most people who get a significant salary bump, meaning 10% or greater, get it from switching jobs (within the company or a different company), where they can use prior experience as a reason for demanding a higher salary. Go in with your eyes open, don’t expect after 3 years with a 3% annual raise your salary would be 9% greater.
Not thinking about the next job
My father – a military man – always said ‘soldiers are like light bulbs when one goes out just screw in another one.’ A dismal analogy of how ‘dispensable’ we are. Because the truth is, no matter how great your skills are or how much your manager loves you, it’s all about the business and they will make decisions for the good of the company. It’s nothing personal. After all, you aren’t the only employee, nor are you the only one with a family, they have to pay everyone.
Whatever job you are in, even if you love it and it’s the perfect job, things could change. You should always be networking, looking for new opportunities and keeping your resume up to date. Always keep learning and expanding your skills. This is great for you so you will be ready if the next – can’t pass this up – opportunity comes along, but also great for the company who gets a more rounded, committed employee.
Go Out and Conquer
Now you know some of the traps that lead us in less than ideal job situations, rather than the happy ending we always hope for.
Job hunting is hard enough. We can’t afford to think in the short term, we are in it for the long game. Not asking for what we want because we are uncomfortable, taking jobs that benefit us today but stagnates us for the future and following the old status quo of ‘one rung at a time’ just doesn’t work that well for us anymore.
Take charge of your career. Be bold and confident. You can do this!