“I don’t even know what other job I want!” - The 1 hour solution

Few minutes after having concluded that a change of job is certainly the right solution to his problem, the person I counsel often says the following: “Changing job is the ideal solution I agree. But the problem is that I don’t even know what other job I want!”

Bang! All is said… How to find the best suited job that you have to look at if you don’t even know what you want?

Indeed, there is nothing worse than starting a search for a new job without first having a clear idea of what you should look for. Even worse, this situation shows that you are in a real professional fog as you do not even know in which direction you should take your career.

Then how to define a list of simple criteria that will help you in the search for a better job?

I plan to cover this topic in more detail soon. Whilst waiting, here is a method in 5 steps that I use and that enables to get quickly a clear idea of the future job you have to look for.

Step 1: create your table

Create your table on a blank sheet of paper or on your word processing program. This table is made of 4 columns and 9 rows as shown on the following pic (click on it to zoom-in):

Step 2: list what you do not want for your next position

Indeed for the search of a new job, it is often easier to list first what you do not want. There are things you can no longer tolerate about your actual position? It’s time to list them in column “My Criteria” for the first four following categories:

  • Job location. Which city or state you absolutely don’t want to work in (in the area you are prospecting)? What is the maximum duration of daily public transports you would accept? Etc. Define these locations and distances that do not suit your wishes and personal life.
  • Colleagues, culture, environment. Fed up of working with unmotivated people? In a company where culture and ethics don’t match with yours? Where it is 100°F during summer and 20°F during winter? List here what you don’t want regarding your colleagues and your environment generally speaking.
  • Positions that do not interest me. If you can no longer bear the kind of job you have presently, it is essential to notify this in your table. What are the positions that don’t interest you in your sector and that recruiters may offer you? List the jobs that you want to avoid.
  • Impact of my work. Would you accept to have a job that contributes to the development of chemical weapons? Or a post that impacts disastrously the nature? Or a position that does not bring progress in society? Write down what you don’t want regarding impact of your work.

Step 3: list what you want

Now list in same column “My Criteria” what you want for each category:

  • Job location. Would you like to work part of your week remotely from home? In a specific city you know well? In a specific country? At a maximum distance from your family? Define these criteria here.
  • Colleagues, culture, environment. Would you like to work in a large company? Or for specific brand? With colleagues of the same age as yours? Etc.
  • Impact of your work. Would you like that your work contributes to bring progress to society? To help people? To make them dream? To create new technologies in a specific field? Etc.
  • Positions that interest me. Contrary to what you did in the precedent step, list here the positions that may interest you. Do you have job titles in mind that may particularly interest you? Would you like a job with high autonomy? A position that emphasizes your creativity? Etc.  
  • My role. Here you define which role you want to have with regards to the company. Do you want a job with responsibilities? Or in contrary do you want a discreet post? Would you like to be visible from the rest of the organization?
  • My personal values. What values do you want to see on your next position (e.g. commitment, respect, loyalty, optimism…)?
  • Compensation. How much do you want? What are the benefits in kind that you would be willing to negotiate in exchange for a lower wage (e.g. payment of public transports, provision of a company car…)?

Step 4: define your “negotiables” and “non-negotiables”

Fourth step, define for each of your criteria whether it is “negotiable” or “non-negotiable”. For this, simply put a cross in the appropriate column and in a straight line with your criterion. As instance your job location may be negotiable if your personal situation enables it, or on the contrary, may not be negotiable at all if you absolutely want to stay in a specific city.

Step 5: be proud of yourself 😊

Indeed you have quickly and efficiently managed to clarify your professional situation. The pic below shows an example of a filled table (click on it to zoom-in):

This table will help you on the following:

  • To have your ideas at hands for your job search. You will also be able to use this table with recruiters who will contact you.
  • Get your thoughts down on paper. Indeed it is better to have a clear and material basis that you can improve later, than letting your thoughts rambling in your head without moving forward concretely.

I advise you to create and regularly update your table even if everything goes well at work (since there’s always the unexpected like a restructuring). 

In short

  • Looking for a new job without clearly defining your selection criteria before is a waste of time. Furthermore, it shows that you are unclear concerning your professional future.
  • You have to clearly define your search criteria: what you do not want longer bear at your workplace, on the contrary what you want to see, what is negotiable or not for you.
  • Presenting your ideas under a table form will help you a lot.

To your success


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