Hey, I know there’s a recession happening, but that doesn’t mean you have to take a job you hate. Well, it might mean you have to take a job you hate. But at least TRY to avoid doing so – because you and I both know that if you take a job you hate, you and your new employer both may as well start looking again right away. Do you love job searching so much that you want to do it all over again? If not, then heed my warning, and don’t take the job if you notice one of the following five red flags:
1. It requires you to play a role that isn’t you. Unless you are an aspiring actor or actress, taking on a job that requires you to play extrovert when you’re really an introvert, make phone calls all day when you hate to talk on the phone, or spend your day chained to a computer when you are itching to get up and walk around won’t make you happy. Frankly, the latter job will make you feel like a caged beast. And no amount of appreciating your job’s perks and benefits, or listing the things you like about your work, will make you feel better. There is a reason why the North Jersey Record called practicing gratitude about your work “Survivor Syndrome” – it’s because when you do it, you’re surviving, not thriving.
2. It calls on you to spend too much time outside your comfort zone. Everyone should spend SOME time outside their comfort zone, if only for the sake of personal development. You should have to screw your courage to the sticking point on occasion. But you shouldn’t have to do it every day, all the time. If you have a social phobia, you shouldn’t be working as a receptionist, and if you are claustrophobic, you probably don’t belong in a cube.
3. It calls on you to spend too much time inside your comfort zone. As I just said, you should have to spend at least some time outside your comfort zone. If you do the same work that you’ve been doing endlessly for the past five years, I don’t need to go to a tarot reader to learn that you’re going to get bored. You need a job that challenges you personally, professionally, or both.
4. You don’t respect the person who interviewed you. I know, at an interview you feel that you’re the one who should be trying to impress the interviewer – not the other way around. My feeling, though, is that if you don’t respect the interviewer, or even like him or her, chances are that the culture in this particular workplace isn’t going to be a good fit for you. You may be able to hold your nose and vote for a politician you don’t respect, but you can’t hold your nose and work for or with someone you don’t respect. Trust me, they’ll notice.
5. You can’t stand the commute, the hours, or the compensation. Any one of these items, which many analysts call “lifestyle factors,” could be a dealbreaker – unless one of them is something that you have to live with, like it or not, because you don’t have a choice. In some ways, this is just a variation of point one above. Don’t try to make yourself into the kind of person who can sit in traffic for an hour twice a day and listen to audiobooks, if you’re really the kind of person who can’t stand traffic for more than a few minutes. You’ll succumb to road rage long before you make it to work! Likewise, if you are not a morning person, you’ll never be happy – or even fully awake – in a workplace where you have to show up by 8. There isn’t enough coffee in the world to change an owl into a lark. Why would you want to try? You’ll only be jeopardizing your mental health.
I know we all need a job, and there’s only so much time you can spend looking. But on the other hand – you won’t find your dream job – you know, the job that will make you HAPPY! – if you stop looking and settle for a job you hate. Think about it.
Brendan Cruickshank (Vice President of Client Services) – Brendan has worked in the online job search industry for 8 years in senior client services roles with major sites like Juju.com and JobsInTheMoney.com. He regularly gives his expert insight on topics in employment and job trends in media outlets including the Washington Post, Forbes and US News & World Report.