The first job at a consulting company was the most wonderful work experience I’ve had my whole career. I was excited, motivated, challenged, and generally happy with my colleagues and clients. I had restless Sunday nights because my mind was constantly churning of new ideas for tomorrow. I didn’t dread going into work on Mondays; I was enthusiastic and I couldn’t wait for the week to start! I had the best commute – 15 minutes away. I was placed on a small project that quickly mushroomed into a very large program. And guess what? Because I proved myself and was there from the project’s inception, I was given amazing opportunities to lead teams and work on complex projects. I was also extremely lucky getting an awesome manager that supported me and placed me in leadership positions early on. Icing on the cake, my colleagues and I had a magical rapport and remain close friends after over 10 years. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. What can I say, I was in love. In love with the job, company, and all! Unfortunately, the company fell under difficult times, and I had to move on.
It is bitter sweet to have such a great experience out the gate because your expectations are set so high, but yet you know what’s possible because you’ve had it before. Just like your first love, you have doubts if you’ll get that same chemistry and excitement from another job. It is very rare, but it is possible to find, as long as you keep the following points in mind:
Know What You Want
If you don’t clearly identify the “must have” and “need to have” job needs for yourself then you are just setting yourself up for disappointment. Sometimes this process takes a trial and error approach, which is fine since that’s the point of living, but you still need to be cognizant of what’s important to you.
Fully Vet a Company
It’s always wise to check glassdoor.com or ladder.com, general publications or article reviews of a company to get a sense of who you’ll be working for. I would encourage you to go beyond online resources, and try to meet with people who have actually worked or are working for a company. They’ll give you insightful information about the “real” company, not so much on what the company tries to portray, but what the people on the ground really say about a company’s values and how they treat their employees.
Keep Realistic Expectations
When you get to a certain point in your career, things become routine and you’ll either fall out of love with a job or get frustrated you haven’t found the right job. Most people don’t get their dream job from the jump, so if you do, understand that it’s not realistic to think you’ll get everything you want in one shot: right salary, type of work, location, etc. Keep an open mind and really think about what’s important to you. Prioritize your needs and think through what’s best for you now and in the near future.
Be A Go-Getter
Complacency and waiting around for something to fall in your lap isn’t going to get you anywhere. You have to identify, hunt, and grab that job you really want! Don’t be afraid to be aggressive and get out of your comfort zone. Talk to as many people as you can about a particular industry or job type to really understand how you fit in this big world and how you can seize the moment.