How to decide which workplace is right for you

Whether you’re deciding where to go for your first job, making a mid-career shift or picking the place to close the final chapter on your career. It’s important to know you’re making the right move.

And, how do you know you’re making the right move?

No one can provide a definitive answer to that. There is shared risk on your part and your new employers as to whether this partnership is successful.

The classic interview process can be very smoke and mirrors with both you and your prospective employer putting on masks in which you tell the other person what you think they want to hear, rather than what’s authentic.

However, we do have a way to identify if a role and company is the right place to make our first, next or last career move.

When asked the question, which is the title of this article, I share the following:

  • People
  • Purpose
  • Progress

From my experience, the 3 pillars above provide a strong criteria in which to measure any potential move and allow you to gather enough data to make a decision on whether it’s the right move.

Let’s unpack each of these so you know what to look for.

Having the right people around you is something I speak about often, and a particular area I feel is under-analysed in the decision making process.

So many of us are often swayed by financial, bonus and benefit packages, that we pay no attention to the people who we could be spending an upward of 50 hours a week with.

One of the biggest reasons that people leave a workplace is other people and the environment which is shaped by those people. You can be paid millions to work for the company of your dream but if the people are assholes, you won’t be there for long.

The people around you will form a very large part of your working world. If it’s a metric of wealth vs happiness, what are you more comfortable with?

So, your first criteria to assess is the people.

What are they like? What environment and culture have they created? Are they the right type of personalities and experience levels you need and/or want right now?

You may not be able to get the answers to all these questions, but you can get a decent view by asking the right questions during your hiring process.

Next up on our pillars is purpose. This can be a wide-ranging one so I’ll be doing my best to streamline it here (if you want to deep dive into defining your own purpose without the woo-woo crap, then consider reading this piece where I explore modern day frameworks to be purpose led).

In this context, I’m framing purpose in the view of what is the purpose that the role and company will give you.

It’s important to note that purpose at work means different things to different people.

For some, having a clear contribution to something which fulfills them, is of service to others and contributes to a larger entity is essential. Whilst for others, having a role and being part of a workplace with good financial security, wellness support and enabling a healthy work life balance is what matters most.

No matter how you define it, the purpose a role and workplace provides is essential in your long term sense of fulfilment.

It’s wise to take the time to reflect on the purpose a new opportunity can provide. Does it align with you? Do you feel it will make you fulfilled? Will it be the motivation for why you rise every morning?

I’m aware that this might seem like a somewhat deep exploration of the self but nonetheless, it’s important to recognise the purpose a new role and organisation can offer you.

This now brings us to the third and final pillar – progress.

We should always investigate what opportunities are available to progress with a new organisation. And, when I say progress, I don’t just mean promotions.

It’s wise to explore the opportunities to grow your skills, experiences and mindset with any prospective new employer. Knowing that you’ll have access to talented people who you can learn from is always a big plus.

Another of the most popular reasons people leave an employer is lack of opportunities to grow and take on new challenges.

If you’re ambitious and want to be somewhere to continuously learn, then you need to do your research in the hiring process and through the help of your good friend Google. Sites like Glassdoor and social media can give you an unfiltered look into how an organisation really operates and if they provide an environment for growth.

In the times when you’re faced with two or three very similar offers, the deciding factor can be the place which will offer you the best opportunities and environment to grow.

Now it’s decision time (TL:DR – too long, didn’t read)

So, if you find yourself struggling to decide on the first, next or last move in your career. Use the 3 pillars of people, purpose and progress as the criteria to assess your options.

  • What are the people like? What culture and environment have they created?
  • Will this role and organisation provide you with purpose? Does it align to your personal definition of purpose?
  • Will you have the opportunities to progress? Not just promotions but to learn and evolve your skills, behaviours and mindset.

I hope this content has been of help in your own decisions making process. Please do share your thoughts and own approach in the comments so we can learn from each other.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

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