Do financial and personal success go hand in hand with doing work that you love? While I can’t cite research to prove it, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that this may be true. Warren Buffet, for example, claims he tap-dances to work every day.
A recent post from a colleague on one of my professional networks took this one step further. In addition to loving your work, he suggested the ideal career includes loving the people you work with and the clients you serve.
Sadly, I know very few people who could say all three of these concepts are part of their work. Many of them “fell into” their careers by happenstance and a good paycheck. Fear of starting all over again has kept them stuck.
If you don’t love your job, there are two basic choices. One is to learn to “love the one you’re with;” in other words, change yourself and the environment at your current workplace. The other is to “look for somebody to love” by finding a company that offers a better fit.
To find work and an environment you love, you may want to look for a company with a culture of building careers rather than providing jobs. Here are a few characteristics to help you identify these companies:
1. They evaluate. The best-practices companies assess potential employees for both competency and personality. Competency evaluations are often specific to the skills needed to perform the job; some firms also include IQ and Emotional Intelligence evaluations. A plethora of personality evaluations can go a long way to help candidates and companies determine if a person is a right fit for a career or a position. A few of them are: Strengths Finder, DISC, Kolbe Index, Emergenetics, Caliper, ProScan, the Enneagram, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
All of these evaluations have their uses. None ought to be relied upon in isolation. All can be wrong or misinterpreted. Properly aggregated and interpreted, evaluations like these can eliminate 50% of the guesswork as to whether a candidate is potentially a good fit. My firm typically uses four to six of them.
2. They interview. While there is no tried and true test to predetermine whether a company’s culture is a fit, many best-practices companies use a tool that’s proven itself to be incredibly effective: the two-day interview. Besides job-specific sessions, this may include social gatherings and one-on-one interviews with everyone that will be on the candidate’s team.
3. They make a team decision. Companies that underscore and protect their culture don’t leave the hiring decision up to one person. Several times in my career, after copious evaluations and interviews, a candidate I saw as a perfect fit was soundly rejected by my staff members. It didn’t mean the applicants weren’t outstanding; it meant they were not a fit for our unique culture.
4. “It’s all about the culture.” For every job there are scores of people who can adequately execute its tasks and accountabilities. There are very few people, however, who fit the culture of the company.
Of course, assessing whether a candidate and a company are a good fit has to come from both sides. You probably can’t tell a prospective employer, “I’d like you to complete these four personality evaluations,” but you can pay close attention to the company’s culture as you interview.
Finding a company that fits your values, life purpose, and personality takes determination, perseverance, and time. In the long run, it’s well worth the effort to build a career that means more than a paycheck. Just make sure there’s room under your desk for your dancing shoes.