Finding a job that suits your personality and long-term career desires can be exceptionally difficult, especially right after college graduation. But getting hired by an organization that you actually care about with a work environment you enjoy is the key to a happy work life. After all, the average American will spend 8.9 hours per day at work or doing work-related things such as commuting.
Perhaps the best way in which to determine the type of career you need to be happy is to take the time to assess yourself and what motivates you to do well. How much time sitting in an office are you willing to tolerate? Do you need alone time to be productive or a more collaborative work environment? Finally, think about management; do you need freedom or direction to be your best at work?
Is Office Life Your Style?
Office life is often defined by one thing: amount of time spent in front of a computer screen. And with new technologies emerging every day that need someone qualified to use them, it seems like these are the types of jobs most likely to be hiring. For example, with the implementation of big data, more and more companies are hiring data analysts to help them understand their customer base, save time and money, and to make more informed company decisions. Over 75 percent of business owners want their companies to be more analytics driven, which has led to a boom in that job market.
In the age where nearly every job has some computer component, it is essential to ask yourself how much screen time you can handle. If you are the type that gets antsy after only an hour of computer work, that is definitely something to consider during a job search because you are unlikely to find happiness sitting for eight or more hours at a time. If you do go that route remember, adapting to a sedentary working lifestyle can be incredibly difficult, especially if you are used to a college schedule, so take the time to make sure you can find ways to stay active in the office.
Are You a Social Butterfly?
Some people are able to spend their entire day talking with coworkers, yet still manage to be some of the most productive people in the office. These are the people that thrive in conditions that promote communication and collaboration such as open floor plans. These employees work best by interacting with their peers and brainstorming ideas together.
If this doesn’t describe you, don’t worry. Another important trait to understand about yourself to aid in your job search is how much time you need alone to still be productive. A lot of people are in need of a balance between social and isolated work environments throughout the day. After understanding what you need to be both happy and productive it is important to ask interviewers how their office layout compares.
Can You Find Management That Works for You?
In addition to understanding how much time you want to spend collaborating with coworkers, make sure to have an idea of how much oversight you want from a manager. Some of the most successful managers are able to gauge how much interaction you need with them and adjust their management strategies to correlate. However, not all are like that.
Identifying if you work best with a set of tasks and guidance or rather general goals and creative space is key in determining if you will work well with a certain manager. Bad managers, or differing work styles between managers and employees, are frequently cited as the number one reason that a person leaves a job willingly. For that reason, it can save a lot of hassle to ask about management oversight during an interview and decide if it would be right for you.
Having an understanding about your basic requirements for workplace happiness can open a number of surprising doors for careers that you may have never thought of yourself in. Furthermore, it can eliminate a number of jobs that sounds like a fit on the surface. Evaluating your willingness to spend time with computers, desired level of coworker collaboration, and necessary manager involvement can be a huge step towards finding the career that YOU love.
About the Author: Brittni Brown is a current Masters student at the University of Idaho. In her free time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and rafting.