I’m not an expert. I’m just a guy who likes to think about stuff.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you may get the impression that I want everyone to quit their jobs. A friend actually emailed me after reading a couple of posts and said as much. I don’t want anyone to quit a fulfilling job. That’s something that everyone should aspire to. With that in mind, the next excuse for staying at a job is that you like it.
I’ve liked all my jobs…at first. Working at jobs I liked and eventually disliked made me learn what’s important in a job. I boiled it down to three things: the job must be stimulating, offer a fair wage, and have helpful colleagues. Without all three, you’ll be updating your resume and LinkedIn profile in no time!
When I finished school, it took me seven months to land my first job. I was so grateful to have a job, I didn’t care about anything else. Stimulating work? At least I have a job. At your first job, you can expect to perform some mundane tasks at first. You’re a new entity, after all. No one really knows what you’re capable of. But I think after a year, you should have proven yourself enough to take on more responsibility, or at least for others to listen to your ideas. If you’re years past your first job, that timeline should be even shorter. Maybe you noticed a process within the company could be more efficient. Your suggestion for improving it shouldn’t automatically be considered meritless because you’re a newbie at the job.
I just signed the employment letter for my first job. I didn’t care about pay. The pay was higher than the zero dollars and zero cents I was earning at the time. It turns out the pay was actually pretty good for a job coming out of school, but even if it was not, I would have accepted the job anyway. For subsequent jobs, though, I expected to be paid the going rate for my job title. However, if you’ve been unemployed for a few months, this requirement may go out the window. Don’t let it. If you take the job, it’ll always be a sore spot that you’re not being paid what you’re worth. You probably won’t make that money up if you stay in that job, either. Companies are going to pay you what you’re willing to accept. Why pay more?
During the interview process for my first job, I didn’t even sit down with my future coworkers. I only interviewed with my boss and some of his colleagues. Ever since, I have insisted on meeting with potential coworkers during an interview. At the very least, I contact them after the interview to ask about the company. The people you work with are so important in shaping your experience at a company. If you get along with them, your work life goes so much more smoothly. They’re willing to help you if you need it. You can bounce ideas off them without fear that they’ll claim them as their own. You can hang out with them after work, too.
If you have a job that has all three of these traits, keep it. If your job lacks any one of them, believe that you deserve better. It’s not too much to ask to require a job that stimulates you, pays you a fair salary, and has supportive coworkers.
Next week, another excuse. Stay tuned!