Which Job Is Right For Me?

by Neal Frankle, CFP ®

“Which job is right for me?” This is a question I hear both from college grads and from people looking for work who have not completed a degree program. Jobs are hard to find. If you are considering a new job or career, you might be so happy to get an offer that you’ll take the first one that comes along.

If you’re desperate for money or trying to get out of debt, that might not be a bad idea. But before you sign on the dotted line, pause to consider the alternatives.

Do you really need to take this job?

You don’t always benefit by taking the highest paying job. Sometimes you’ll make out better if you take a lower paying job with fewer benefits. Sometimes a side job is a better option. It all depends on the opportunities this job provides. I made this mistake when I first graduated college. The best financial offer I received was at an aerospace firm so I took it. The offered me $300 a month more than the nearest competitor. Mistake. It was short sighted and not smart (but I was young so I forgive myself).

It was a dead end job with not much future. I couldn’t stand it. Nobody was interested in new ideas (which was torture for me). I got out before a year was up. This didn’t look good on my resume at all. You can see how the short-term decision to maximize income was not a good long-term move.

How will this job impact your future?

If you’ve been doing a good job with your budgeting, you know how much money you really need to make ends meet. Doing so will be an invaluable tool to give you more options. You might be able to afford a lower paying job at first if it gives you the opportunities you really want. Don’t be afraid to jump into a new vocation if it excites you.

Will you have an opportunity to shine?

I believe this is the most important ingredient. My experience tells me that you can find something to love in just about any job you have. But that doesn’t mean every job can be great. Specifically, if your boss or co-workers are stinky, you’ll be unhappy no matter how great the opportunity is.

You’ll do better in a second-tier job with a great boss than in a dream job with a bad one. If your boss (or other workers) consider you a threat because of your intelligence and drive, you’re not going to be happy.

Make sure what you’re getting into. Ask your potential employer what she’s looking for and why. Ask her to share some success stories about other staff members who came on board. If she finds it difficult to come up with any,that might be a good indication of how this company squashes innovation and creativity.

Last, look at your own work history. If you’ve been jumping around from job to job, you’ve got to take a hard look at your process. Are your expectations too high? Are you providing value for your employer? Could you have done something different to make your former jobs more successful?

Take a really good and deep look at yourself. If you are the problem, address that issue now. Don’t keep looking for the perfect job because you won’t find it.

Be honest with yourself and set yourself up for success.What kind of organizations do you feel most comfortable in? Do you like calling the shots or being part of a team? Do you work well with others or do prefer to go solo?

Even though times are tough, don’t walk into a situation that is destined for trouble. While anything could happen, chances are, you know yourself pretty well by now. If the only reason you want the job is the benefits and money and there is nothing else about the work you find appealing, you might be making a mistake. ( Consider being self employed instead. )

You probably won’t stay long at a lousy job (so the money and benefits vanish anyway) and you’ll build up short-term work experience which will make other employers reluctant to hire you.

Is your current job right for you? How do you know? How did you find it?


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

krantcents September 28, 2011 at 5:17 PM

If you have the skills and talent to do the job well, you should take it. If you love what you do, you do it well and the money follows.


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