Why we fail to find the right job

Why we fail to find the right job

According to a 2013 Gallup study, 70% of the American workforce are not engaged at work. Around the world, across 142 countries, the proportion of employees who feel engaged at work is just 13 percent. LinkedIn estimates that 66% of its 350 million users are actively or passively seeking a job.

So why is it that so many people are unhappy in their jobs? For me the answer is simple- people make career decisions based on the wrong reasons.

During my past 8 years in recruitment I have interviewed hundreds of people, most of which couldn’t tell me why they were really looking for a new job, what they were looking for in their next job or, what type of culture or environment would best suit them.

People should be asking why do they want to leave. In data analytics a ‘why’ analysis goes a long way. The process is to keep asking ‘why’ until you get to the very core of why you want to leave so that you can understand what will make you feel fulfilled.

Often we take the first offer, or move just for more money. In fact money is far too often associated with success – we think if we’re earning more money then it’s a measure of how successful we are. But a salary is not going to determine how much you will be challenged in your job or whether you will feel fulfilled by the day-to-day work.

In the book “In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel Pink, says that knowledge workers are motivated by three things: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Autonomy: when we are in control of what we do, how we do it, and when we do it. That should always be the case in a true Agile working environment.

Mastery: when we are constantly learning and evolving, becoming better professionals and better human beings.

Purpose: when we feel that our job is important and we are contributing to make things better, instead of just doing what we are told without understanding why.

Therefore, we see that people work for recognition, not money. Understandably, money does feature in the decision making process. However, we need to be more strategic about our choice and view money as one element rather than the most important element.

In my experience, people never leave a job because they dislike their salary, they become unhappy because they are not feeling fulfilled in other areas of their role and then the salary compounds the issue. Growth (mastery), a sense of independence (autonomy) and fulfilment that your job makes a significant impact on the lives of others somehow (purpose) are the defining factors.

In the technology industry, these issues are compounded by the fact that the industry is fast-paced and growing exponentially. There are many new jobs emerging all the time, so this can make it harder to make your decision.

So next time you go for an interview, why not change the questions you prepare for the interviewer to be focused on autonomy, mastery and purpose and appreciate the interesting conversation that unfolds. The money will follow.

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