During my fresher years I, not unlike many of you, was faced with a lot of questions on the kind of jobs I should search or apply for. Sadly, our current education system – more often than not – doesn’t account for educating the students on how to find their path or encourage their passion, or even help in recognizing their inclinations towards one subject over another. And if it does, the people are painfully unaware of it. Due to the “more theory-less practice” approach, the potential talent is entrapped in a rat race of School, graduation, higher education and an eventual job. Very few people tell you that it is okay to take a break after school or graduation and educate yourself in the fields you’re interested in. To look for internships in those fields and gather practical experience to really understand if that’s something you could actually do. They say your 20’s are for trying and experiencing different things. However, deadlines to apply for colleges right after school and then post graduation make people paranoid and they never stop to realize that the very thing they’re doing all of this for – a job – might not be what they want. Because let’s be honest, you cannot know how things work without actually trying them out. And by the time all of this is done, you’re probably in your early or mid 20’s and start feeling the pressure of responsibilities.
Well, no reason crying over spilt milk and almost everything can be salvaged. Now that you are done with your education, how do you ensure that the job you’re going for is the right one for you? How do you ensure you’re doing what you like?
And if you’re not a fresher, how do you know that the job you’re applying for is all that you’re looking for?
Here are a few thoughts that might help:
Clarify the role:
This is EXTREMELY important. It really would not matter how great the culture of an organization is if you do not understand/are not fit for the role. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad candidate, it just means you’re not analyzing and playing to your strengths correctly. Joining and going for a role that’s not right for you will end up making you feel incompetent and demotivated and eventually make you miserable at work. But that’s not the goal right?
Usually highlighting your strengths and having an open discussion with your interviewer helps.
Don’t be afraid to ask important questions around culture:
When looking for a house, you check on the essentials right? How old is the property? Are there any visible issues? What are the neighbours like? You do it because it’s quite an investment.
Similarly, joining an organization is an investment, possible one of the most important ones considering you’ll be investing a considerable amount of your time to the work. So don’t ever be afraid to ask questions about the things that contribute to a healthy work life. Some examples could be:
- What would you say about the culture of the organization?
- What would you say you like the most about working here?
- How open is the organization to initiatives and projects?
- What is the team like? What are your expectations with me in terms of how I can contribute to the team?
These are just examples, but you can tailor these based on your priorities. People rarely have a problem answering these. However, if they do, that says a little bit about the culture in itself, doesn’t it?
Work life balance:
The fact that I even have to mention this as a point is kind of sad, but the unfortunate reality is that a lot of people still think of it as a privilege rather than a given. One of the most important things to learn and absorb is that we work for fulfilment and to ensure we can have a decent lifestyle and take care of our loved ones. We do not live to work. If we’re working 65-80 hours a week, what lifestyle are we enjoying really? So it is VERY important to set the right expectations from the start and understand the work life balance of the organization.
You could ask the interviewer, but in my experience, it is also good to reach out to people on professional networks and mutual contacts and have a candid chat.
Be very transparent and honest:
Open communication is still very underrated in interviews. But what you hide or don’t say might come back and bite you later. Think of it this way – it’s an INTER VIEW. Basically both parties are assessing if they are a perfect fit for each other. So talk about things that are important to you and the org. Have a good chat and figure out if the relationship is going to work. It’s better to have it now than be frustrated and miserable later. Even if it doesn’t work out, it does not mean you’re wrong, it just means you might not be right for that particular role.
Be articulate but don’t be a yes man:
When I say have an open communication, I do not mean for you to be arrogant, blunt or rude. Frame your questions and opinions in a firm but polite manner. Think of it as a pleasant conversation where you’re trying to get to know the other person. That does not, however, mean that you become a ‘yes man’. You can disagree with what is being said without coming on too strong or, excuse my bluntness, being an ass.
Don’t lose heart and don’t be afraid to walk away:
This takes courage and heart. I’m not going to pretend that the world is equal and that everyone has the same amount of responsibilities or come from the same circumstances. So i do get why candidates, sometimes, do and say whatever they think the interviewer wants to hear to get the job.
But hear me out – Your interviewers will probably not be naive, especially if there are multiple interviewers. They are looking for a real person and not a textbook (at least in places worth staying). So there is a good chance they will find out if you’re faking. And when you get rejected at that point, you feel extremely demotivated because you think you did everything you could. But did you? Or did you do everything you THOUGHT you were supposed to do?
Now let’s say you do get that job. How long do you think you can keep faking it before shit hits the ceiling and you eventually end up dissatisfied with where you are or end up leaving anyway?
Isn’t it better to be yourself so that both parties can set up real and acceptable expectations? Post that, even if it doesn’t work out, you can be sure that you really did do everything and will end up someplace better suited to your personality.
Personally, I do not believe there are wrong jobs or wrong people (always exceptions to the rule of course) – Just wrong combinations of the two, which are a result of ineffective communication.
That’s all I have for you guys this time around and i look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences.
Till we meet again!
The Millennial Cult