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The Biggest Mistake Young Professionals Make when Job Searching

This often-overlooked aspect can make the difference between job stress and job passion

This post is intended to be for the young millennials. Many of my friends are at the age when they are either about to graduate or have graduated, and don’t know what to do with themselves, or where they fit in. Many choose to go to graduate school, others choose to take part time jobs to fill the gap or move to a big city and hope things work out. While all of these are valid strategies, they seem like short term fixes to a long term problem of not having a clear and defined purpose.

Eventually in our 20’s we must all leave the snug confines of the all too familiar world of academia and schooling in order to explore and find a purpose for ourselves in the “real” world. Faced with this dilemma of entering something unfamiliar, it is very easy to choose the first opportunity that comes your way or an opportunity that seems enticing because of the pay or prestige. Yet, something even more important that is rarely emphasized is the importance of the culture of the organization where you will be spending at least 40 hours a week for the foreseeable future. The right culture could make you wish those 40 hours lasted longer or it could make you dread the moment you wake up in the morning, knowing that it is going to be another long/boring/uneventful day.

“Culture” is a pretty wishy-washy word though. It’s a way of indicating all the intangible things that come with a workplace like difficulty of the job, learning experience, impact of your work, how much value you add to the organization and to the world, and how your co-workers treat you. All of these factors go into determining the culture. One can imagine assigning a value to each of the following factors:

1) Responsibilities associated with the job

2) Amount of learning that occurs on the job

3) Impact of your work

4) Relationship with co-workers

5) Pay and benefits

We can call this the Workplace Assessment Scale (WAS), and it can literally be applied to any organization you choose to be a part of. In the next post we’ll take a look at applying this to different sized organizations!