After a moderately successful career in accounting and finance, I thought I found my “dream job” on LinkedIn — a startup controller.
I was excited and prayed that I would get the job. It was supposed to be the right position with the right pay, autonomy and the ability to build and shape a company. And it was where my wife and I wanted to move to — the right place.
However, soon after I started, I realized that the “dream job” was a nightmare. Six weeks later I had to wake up and figure out what to do next.
I learned that no matter how great the job description may seem, it’s all about the people. You can get a “dream job” but if the people aren’t “dream people” — great people to work with — the “dream job” can become a nightmare.
While I thought the position, the pay, the autonomy, the ability to build and shape a company and the city were important, I learned that these four things are even more important:
Despite doing similar work in my two previous positions, my work wasn’t respected. Despite the fact that I was the expert, as my superiors said, they always made me feel they could do my job better than I could.
If you’re going to hire an expert, let the person do their job without fear. If you don’t feel respected, no matter what expertise you may have you will eventually start doubting yourself.
Bill Parcells once said, “If I’m going to be asked to cook the meal, I’d like to be able to pick the groceries.”
However, if you can’t pick the groceries, you would like to have the person picking them on your side. If the person isn’t, you won’t feel empowered.
And being told to be proactive without having the necessary tools to do your job will also leave you feeling powerless.
If your boss and your boss’ boss have conflicting and/or unrealistic expectations about your work and your decision-making capabilities, you will always feel that everything you do is wrong.
This will make your stay, no matter how long it is, a living hell.
Before taking any job or shortly upon arrival, if you can, meet your boss’ boss to be clear on the expectations of your role, your decision-making capabilities and open lines of communication to maintain clarity.
You should add value to any organization you join. But the organization should value you, too.When you constantly see talent exiting either by choice or by firing, it’s only a matter of time before you hit the door. Also, when your hard work and expertise are constantly belittled, devalued and/or disregarded, it’s time to start looking elsewhere.
When you constantly see talents exiting either by choice or by firing, it’s only a matter of time before you hit the door.
Also, when your hard work and expertise are constantly belittled, devalued and/or disregarded, it’s time to start looking elsewhere.
“Dream Job” and “Dream People”
You may see these four things in your “dream jobs”. But you definitely won’t see them on an online job board or job description.
No matter what you do, where you do it and/or how you do it, the people you do it with will make all the difference.
You can’t have a “dream job” without “dream people.” And you won’t find “dream people” on an online job board or job description, either. The wrong “dream job” can also have adverse effects on your close relationships, but that’s a story for another day.
So, how can you find out if the people will be the right people?
Baby Boomer Expert, Marc Miller says, “On social media, I can find people who work for the organization and I can find people who have left. And it’s always great to ask the people who have left, ‘Why did you leave?’”
Sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn are great resources for reviews and information on prospective employers. If you hear a consistent message, you’ll have a better idea of whether you should work there or not.
You may have a better idea of what you’ll be working with if you decide to take the job.
However, even if you feel good about the people and the organization, you still have to work with the people to truly know if it’s a good fit. But whatever you do, never compromise on what’s most important to you.
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