Valentine's Day recently passed and I cannot help but to reflect on compatibility. Not just romantic compatibility, although that's important, but career compatibility as well. Like our relationships, we invest a lot of hours into our careers, so I believe compatibility in that area is crucial.
Unfortunately, I did not take compatibility seriously in both my career and relationships until I was more mature (think 30+). Granted, I believe it was all trial and error and I'm grateful to have had those experiences to know what I did and did not want.
What about you? Is career compatibility something you have or are looking for? If you're looking for it, I highly suggest you draw up career criteria. Career criteria are a list of negotiable and non-negotiable items you are looking for in your next position, whether for employment or self-employment. It acts as a filter to weed out any role or business that won't be a fit for you. Typically, it reflects your needs and values such as fulfillment, balance, autonomy, flexibility, and creativity, but it can also have certain practical things like maximum commute time and minimum income (something a little more difficult to assess for self-employment).
Criteria works. It creates the energy that you are serious about your standards and won't settle for less. Instead of getting a mixed bag of results, in both positions and partners, you achieve more compatibility with conscious choices. I've led many clients to draw up career criteria and, as no surprise to me, they got close to or exactly what they listed. Here's what Steph updated me on a few months after working together. It's an excerpt from a longer update:
"I've also kept diligently looking internally because I realized I don't want to do a long commute so I can keep my work-life balance. Last week I had an interview Monday and this Monday I got the call that I GOT THE OFFER!! Can you believe it?! Just 4 weeks left to the end of my contract and I finally made it. AND GET THIS... it's FT, in a beautiful new building surrounded by windows and daylight and I get AN OFFICE SPACE TO MYSELF AND A WINDOW. So eery that this is what I said to you when you asked me about my ideal workspace. Funny too is that it's for admin/reception which is what I was initially avoiding but I am excited to start this new role with a diff dept. and ppl and a fresh start. I heard they are really nice over there and that it's pretty lax and very team oriented. I asked these things in the interview as well. Fingers crossed."
Steph drew up career criteria (negotiables and non-negotiables) and, despite being worried about running out of time, she got a position that met her needs and values. Fortunately, she continues to be content in it. She not only filtered job ads, but she asked filtering questions during the interview as well. A lot of candidates forget that an interview is a two-way process, and you can interview the hiring managers to see if the company or organization is the right fit for you too (okay, maybe not as many questions but you still can). Asking them questions shouldn't just be a part of an expected interview structure but to really see if the "shoe fits."
If it wasn't for listing out what I wanted, and creating both negotiables and non-negotiables, I wouldn't have the amazing partner and career I do today. I firmly believe what you focus on, and monitor, grows.
So, again, if you are seeking and haven't been fulfilled in the past you might want to create career criteria. The same applies for dating. There's no price to put on the return of investment into drawing one up.
If you do create one (or two), I would love to hear yours. If you are struggling with it and would like more guidance and clarity, let's set up a call to see if I can help. In these calls, I assess whether I can genuinely help you and we both figure out if we are a good fit to work together. My lesson on compatibility "pays in dividends."