When you first get into the job market, the only thing you may be concerned with is finding a way to get paid. But as time goes on, your priorities tend to mature and you start to look for ways to find a job that fits your lifestyle — whether that means working remotely instead of in a corporate office or not wanting to work weekends anymore. While having a job that pays well is really important, you also want to make sure that your mental health, your relationships, and your personal goals are not suffering. Unless your current job is your ideal position, then it's probably a good idea to make sure that your work lifestyle matches with your personal one.
But how do you find a job that fits with your ideal lifestyle? "In terms of how to figure out what matters to you: I find giving myself some space, having a glass of wine, and bouncing ideas off of friends and mentors can give you insights that you might not otherwise have," says former Wall Street CEO and founder of Ellevest Sallie Krawcheck in an interview with Bustle over email. Even though reaching out to others is a great start, another way you're going to find your ideal job that coincides with the lifestyle you want is by looking within yourself and knowing your priorities. Need some guidance to help you pick the the ideal job for your life? Check out these nine tips below.
1. Figure Out What You Want Out Of Life
Before you look for another job, figure out why you're taking these steps and how you want to improve your life. "It’s worth it to spend some time — some real time — getting very clear about what’s important to you. Do you crave a real intellectual challenge? Do you love exercise? Do you need lots of time with your friends? Are you motivated by money? No wrong answers here, but each can lead you to a different job," says Krawcheck.
2. Analyze What's Most Important
You need to be completely honest with yourself when you're trying to figure out what's most important when it comes to your personal life. That means knowing what's most important to you. "The next step when you're looking for a job that fits your life — and lifestyle — is to set your priorities. Start with what's most important to you right now in your career. Is it making a salary of at least a certain dollar amount? Is it telecommuting? Is it working on a particular topic or issue? Is it working 40 hours a week, max, without question? Or is it a generous vacation policy?" says career coach Kim Wensel in an interview with Bustle over email.
3. Don't Find Your Dream Job; Search For Your Ideal Job
"One of the common mistakes I see people making is assuming that a dream job is the same as an ideal job. I, for one, don't believe dream jobs really exist past the surface level. You'll still have to show up, put in the work, and do things sometimes you really don't want to be doing," says Wensel. "An ideal job, on the other hand, is a job that matches up with your individual interests, skills, and values." While a fashion job in Paris might sound amazing, it might not fit with your top priorities. You can find happiness in a career if it's allowing you to have a positive life.
4. Figure Out What's Currently Making You Unhappy In Your Career
Before you can find the good, try to figure out what's making you unhappy in your current position. "With all of my coaching clients, I have them start by listing what they want more of in their career right now and what they want less of. This list helps them to understand exactly why they may be unhappy in their current role and narrow in on what they need out of their next position," says Wensel.
5. Know Your Non-Negotiables
It's really important to know what you will or will not deal with at your future position. If your boss at your last job required you to work till 9 p.m. a few nights a week, but you want to hang out with your kids, then make sure your new job aligns with that lifestyle wish. "Rank your top three most important priorities. Your number one priority should serve as your nonnegotiable. The other two are bonuses if a job or company affords them," says Wensel.
6. Understand Your Personality
"I personally love working from home, but someone who's highly extroverted wouldn't work well from home. Ask yourself when you're happiest and most productive to figure out what career you want," says Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time in a phone interview with Bustle. Whether you work better alone or in groups, or you're the type of person who doesn't like to travel for work, keep all your personality traits in mind when it comes to finding your ideal job.
7. Research The Companies You Want To Work For
"Once you’re clear on it, talk to everyone you know about jobs, and companies, that are aligned with what you are looking for. And, on companies, I thinks it’s always especially illuminating to speak to people who have left those companies about what they are like to work for. This can get you some unvarnished truth; always a good thing!" says Krawcheck. Even when you figured out the type of environment you want to work in, it's important to find that the company's ethics matches with your own.
8. Ask For Informational Interviews
One of the best ways to find out if the position you're hoping for is the right fit or not is by simply cold-emailing people in those current positions. "When you're doing research for the type of career/job you want, connect with people that are in positions you want and ask what their day-to-day life is like in that position," says Vanderkam.
9. Don't Be Afraid To Negotiate
Whether you've been at your job for the past few years or you just got an offer from a new place, it's never a bad idea to bring up your lifestyle wishes with your supervisor. Honestly, the worst thing they could say is no. "If the company is really interested, tell them about your wishes, especially if they can't give you a higher pay. Ask for lifestyle things you want that are considered to be cheaper," says Vanderkam.
Trying to find the perfect job seems nearly impossible, but there are ways to have a career that fits your lifestyle. Use a few of these tips to help you achieve your ideal work situation before you burn yourself out.