We’ve all had that feeling at one time or another where you feel completely out of place. The thought “what am I doing here?” runs repeatedly through your mind. After a very short period of time your fight or flight mode kicks in with either “I will endure this no matter what happens because I have no alternative” or “I’m out of here first chance I get”… neither of which are acceptable responses, especially when it has to do with your place of employment. No different than a “fish out of water”, we struggle to survive when we are out of our element.
Finding environments that we’re comfortable in will create a desire to be present. Typically, the right environment will be filled with like-minded individuals who find comfort in similar ways as you. Finding the workplace that is in alignment with your personality, work style and values will lead to career longevity, enjoyment, camaraderie and openness to grow.
When you’re out job hunting make sure to take note of the place, the people and the purpose. Here are a few things you can do to test for alignment.
- Research the company in advance of your interview. Follow them on social media to learn what they value, workplace culture and overall personality.
- Determine who you would be working for and see what you can find out about their personality and work style. Maybe you know people that have worked for them or with them in the past, reach out and ask about work style, personality and office atmosphere.
- Use the interview process to find out more about the company. Most potential employers will appreciate your interest and enjoy answering questions.
- Engage in a genuine conversation with your interviewer. Ask open-ended questions about the team you would be working with, the goals of the organization overall and what kind of traits they value as a company.
- If you have the opportunity to be within the space you would be working pay close attention to the atmosphere, mood of the staff and how individuals interact. Imagine yourself within the environment and contributing each day. Does if feel like a fit for you?
It’s worth the extra time and attention to check for alignment and workplace fit. Skills and qualifications are important, but when you spend a significant amount of your time at work it pays to make sure it’s a place where you will be happy. Seek to find an office element where you can thrive, not struggle to survive.