We will spend the next 40+ years working. That’s a dismal thought for a lot of college students in todays world. We finally get out of college, have a degree that is fresh off the printer, and then we are dropped straight onto the doorstep of the longest season of our lives. What makes working for 40 years’ worth it? How can we make these 40 years not a nightmare, or even be able to enjoy them? I think it all starts by knowing what you want in a job. Defining our criteria for a workplace allows us to eliminate all the noise from other job offers or openings and focus on what will be best for us and enable us to enjoy our endeavors. There are a lot of questions that we need to ask ourselves before we accept any job offer, such as:
- Do the companies mission statements align with my own?
I don’t think its fair to work for a company that puts building a life for yourself and going against what you believe in, on opposite sides of the table. A company that sees issues from an opposite point of view as yourself puts you at a disadvantage and can stunt your growth. For me, if a company does not hold the same through political, environmental, or racial values as I do, I will be much more hesitant to work for them.
- Where do I want to work?
I have always loved big cites. I have been able to travel to so many big cities like New York, Boston, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, etc. The fast paced and social environments that are found in these cities has been in the back of my mind since I left. I think that working in one of these cities would provide me with a healthy life outside of work.
- What would the commute look like?
Commuting is something that has been on the decline because of COVID, but I think that by the time I am out of college it would be back to the way things were. For me, I love driving so I would be willing to drive almost an hour to get to work and then back home. Driving is one of the ways that I can relax and let my mind wind down after a long day of work, So I would be fine driving to and from work.
- How much do I want to get paid?
Let’s be real this is the first thing that comes to most college students minds when it’s time to get a job. Once I graduate, I want to be making $40,000 a year from salary. Once I have amassed a solid client base, I would like to be making in the 6-figure range annually. I don’t have the dream of multiple homes and cars, but I do want to have a comfortable life and be able to provide for the wants and needs of my family and loved ones.
- How much opportunity for growth is there?
This is one area that I am not willing to negotiate. If there is no room for me to improve as an employee and gain skills that will benefit me in the future than I see no reason to pursue a career at that organization. As a college graduate almost every opening will have some area of growth available but in the future once I have a few years under my belt, if there is no further room for growth I will look for a new opening.
- What do I want my coworkers to be like?
Coworkers are the people that you will spend the most time with outside of your house. I want to be able to have conversations with them about things outside of the office. From sports to travel to life, If I don’t see anyone that is interested in building a friendship outside of the office, I will not enjoy my time with that organization.
- What do I want office life to look like?
Much like the coworkers, you will spend a lot of time in the office so what do you want it to look like? I want to have a place where I can make it my own, I want to be able to personalize it to make it feel less cookie cutter. I would also like for the office to have areas where coworkers can meet and converse that is less formal.
- Am I able to work remotely?
COVID has shown us that working remotely is a possibility and that many people strive from working at home. I think that there are good things that come from both. I would love to be able to work remotely 2 days of the week and then come into the office for the other 3. Also being able to convert my place of work into a mobile or remote location is something I would like to have the option of.
- Will I get PTO or overtime pay?
I am someone who likes to work and will work until I get the job done. Often times that means that I work obscure hours of the night when I get an idea of thin of an alternative way to solve a problem. I think that time over the 40-hour mark should be rewarded with additional pay. I also think that PTO is very important when considering a job offering. Even when you do everything right things can still go bad. Having the safety net of PTO is reassuring for when things go wrong.
- Will this work be meaningful?
For me, I like knowing that what I am doing is benefiting others, so before I accept any job offering, I will need to know that I will be doing work that benefits others, not just myself. It doesn’t have to be saving the world or anything massive, but at the end of the day I want to be able to go home and think that I made someone’s day better.
- Am I open to travelling for this job?
I love traveling so if I got to travel for work, I would enjoy it. I have been all around the world and have enjoyed doing stuff at everyplace I’ve been. I think that being able to travel for work would give me more excitement and pleasure from my work because it would give me a change of scenery.
- Do I want routine in my work or spontaneous work?
I get really bored really quickly so if I am doing the same thing over and over, I will eventually get bored and have to move on from that job. If I had a job that allowed me to change scenery or work different hours, I think that would be ideal to fit my criteria. Also doing different tasks on occasion would be another way to reduce the monotony of work.
- What are some tasks that would excite me?
I love working with money, investing mainly, whether it’s in stocks, bonds, real estate, automotive, whatever I love doing it. I think that if I was able to find a job that allowed me to invest and work with portfolios it would be something that I would not only enjoy doing, but I would be very good at doing it.
- What type of leadership style do I prefer?
I like a leader who will guide me and point out when I am wrong, not just when I do something right. I want a leader who will show me how to do it and then let me try a few times on my own. A leader that is always down my throat and in my work only slows my progress and limits my productivity.
- Will this job make me a better person?
This is one of the most important questions I ask myself when looking a job offers. I don’t want to get to the point in my life where I’m coming home and feeling empty after work. This is also one of the hardest questions to answer because only you can answer it. If something makes you a better person, it might not make someone ese a better person too.
A personal criterion for what you are looking for in a job is vital not just to help you choose a job, but also to help confirm that the job you chose is the right one. These are just the questions that I ask myself and have found helpful to consider. What are the questions you think are most important to use to build a personal criteria?