Finding the Right Job

Garmish - Finding the Right Job

Financial stability prior to achieving financial independence is imperative. Stability can be found by living with intentional frugality, saving diligently, and having a steady, consistent income. For most of us, this income comes not from our investments, but from our day jobs. While most people seeking financial independence draw motivation from freeing themselves of the daily grind, while in that grind, job satisfaction is very important. Without even a mediocre level of satisfaction, your motivation to succeed and excel in your chosen profession will suffer greatly. This lack of success in your day job will inhibit your ability to increase your income and accelerate your path towards independence. Bottom line, having the right job is an important part of your path towards financial stability and independence.

Well what happens if your current job isn’t the right fit? Or if you are somewhat happy with your current job, but feel there is something else out there? How do you evaluate a current or potential position in an objective manner and determine which job is right for you? Well, having spent some time recently evaluating just this thing, I laid out a score sheet based on seven primary factors, and three auxiliary factors, which can be just as important, but don’t speak to the position itself.

The score sheet is incredibly simple – give each criteria one of three scores (0, 0.5, or 1). A zero indicates there is no fulfillment of the criteria, a half point indicates that the criteria isn’t immediately met but has the strong potential to be met, and a one means the criteria has been fully met.

A quick note before getting into the score sheet: understand that these factors are what I find desirable and appealing in a job, and are somewhat specific to being an accountant. Because of that, some of these factors might not apply to you. Focus instead on the intent of the score sheet, and what values you might find important.

Finding the Right Job - Score Sheet

Primary FactorsScore AuxiliaryScore
Growth Potential:0Compensation:0
Process Development:0Personality/Fit:0
Operational Analytics:0
Total Auxiliary
Stable Company/Leadership:0
Flexibility:0Total Primary0
Longevity:0Total Auxiliary0
Total Primary
Total Job Score

The Primary Seven

Growth Potential: Growth can come from two different directions: vertically and/or horizontally. With vertical growth potential, one can reasonably expect upward mobility due to expansion, turnover, or retirements. This is a more traditional promotional track; think going from staff to senior staff to manager to director, or whatever titles fit your profession. Horizontal growth comes from an expansion of duties, working outside your primary responsibilities, or by involvement with cross-functional teams.

Supervisor/Manager: Having been through the earlier parts of my career, and starting to crest the hill of “paying my dues,” moving forward and into a supervisorial role is important.

Process Development: I am extremely process oriented, and am very comfortable breaking down both accounting and operational processes and finding improvements. Finding an opportunity that allows me the flexibility to accomplish both facets is important.

Operational Analytics: Another means of describing this is managerial accounting. Managerial accounting is the process of taking accounting or financial information and using it to make business decisions. By taking historic and current financial data, breaking it down into a format that is understandable for those in operations, one can affect the direction of the business. This can be done on both a macro or micro level.

Stable Company with Strong Leadership: Without a doubt, one of the bigger fears for anyone going to a new company is the financial strength or security of that company. Generally speaking, companies with strong leaders will have a high level of stability.

Flexibility: This is the quintessential work/life balance requirement. While I don’t currently have a family, I would expect to have one in the future. In picking a long-term place for job stability, having the ability to have that flexibility is incredibly important.

Longevity: Longevity is one-sided in this calculation; staying at your current job is a plus one, and leaving gets you nothing. Generally speaking, voluntary job hopping does not look good on a resume, and should be factored into the equation. However, this becomes less relevant if you have been at your current position for longer than two years. This shows a level of stability, and a willingness to work past the initial honeymoon period of a job (yes, jobs have those too!).

The Auxiliary Three

Compensation: While immediate compensation will always be a factor, this looks more to the potential of future compensation. Finding stability means identifying not just how you will be paid today, but also in the years to come. An important lesson is that more money isn’t always the right path in a career, but should absolutely be considered.

Location: Commuting isn’t a pleasurable experience. Here in America we collectively wasted $121 Billion worth of time sitting in traffic in 2011. What about an hour and a half commute? Not necessarily desirable, unless you live around Washington DC or Los Angeles, in which case that might be a speedy commute. Much like your immediate compensation, unless your commute will significantly decrease your satisfaction with the job, it isn’t a primary factor.

Personality/Fit: Who doesn’t want to work with people who are nice, positive, and don’t bring in smelly lunches? When interviewing, it is important to not just look at the interviewer, but to meet and talk with the people you will be working with. Social and professional compatibility is tremendously important, and will only help you get up in the morning. It should be noted that in small work environments, interpersonal friction and negative and detrimental “office politics” can be significantly magnified, so personality fit should carry extra consideration.

That being said, if you are already working, at no point should personality become a detriment in the workplace. Always maintain your own high levels of professionalism and you should be relatively insulated from the negativity, gossip, and political games that can come from such an environment.

For any potential job or even your current position, comparing the totals from YOUR personal score sheet will give you a starting point in making career decisions. What factors do you find important in a job search? Is money everything for you? Do you have the right job?

Photo: CylusPrints

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  1. Lol! The smelly lunches comment made me laugh. For me, the most important thing is the relationship I have with my boss. I been lucky enough to work with a really great boss, who recently left which made me realize just how important that is in terms of your enjoyment of work. Everything else is really secondary. No point making a boatload if your miserable, though I guess I can say that with the luxury of a small dividend cushion to help!

    • Haha couldn’t agree more! I have recently experienced a situation that made this post, and your boss comment, all the more relevant! I will hopefully be sharing that in the next couple weeks!

      Thanks for commenting and the link!


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