Five Signs a Job is Right for You

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The pressure is on now that it’s the holiday season. The old credit card has been called out of retirement and doing its best to make the season bright. However, instead of visions of sugar plums, you see credit card bills dancing in your head. It’s tempting to just grab any job that comes across your path and, hey—that’s not a bad thing to keep the bill collectors away from the door. But if you still have some breathing room, finding the right job that is right for you is still the best course to take.

Are you searching the online job sites with keywords from your past job? If so, you may be setting yourself up for another fall. Let’s face it; some layoffs and downsizing are a result of jobs that aren’t coming back. If you are lucky enough to find one, it may not be around very long and there you are, back in the job hunt again. My husband once had a job that he was qualified for and had great pay, but he was miserable. The job site was in a large building with no heat or air-conditioning, and the crews had to work 10-hour days, sometimes five or six days a week. The pay was great, but life was miserable in the 107 degree Savannah summer days and cold, 30 degree winters.

How do you know if a job is right for you? Here are five signs to look for.

1. It’s familiar but challenging. If you talked your way into a job that you’re not qualified for, you will either learn fast or fail. No one wants a boring job, but finding one that you are qualified for and comfortable with eliminates stress. A bit of a challenge or opportunity to learn makes it interesting. Decide how much risk you can take in a new job and hold the line.

2. It fits your lifestyle. If you always wanted to be a hippie (or are a holdover from the 60’s), the button-down corporate environment will soon feel like a straight-jacket. Think of the websites you frequent, clothing you wear or how you spend your leisure time. You should feel at home in your work environment much the same as you do at home.

3. It meets your financial needs. Taking a lower salary with the promise of a raise or bonus may sound good at the interview, but promises are just that. Get it in writing. Companies can fall on hard times, too. There is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve been taken advantage of or are working at a job that doesn’t pay the bills. If financial stability is important for you and your family, work out a budget and then hold out for your best offer.

4. It offers opportunities that fit your goals or dreams. Growing up, my family never took vacations. I always wanted to travel, so when I was offered a secretarial job at Marriott Hotels, I wasn’t as interested in the job, which I could do blindfolded, as I was in the hotel discounts Marriott offered to employees. My five years at Marriott were my ticket to the world. The pay envelopes often had flyers for $29 hotel rooms in the U.S. or around the world, which I could afford on a secretary’s salary.

5. It aligns with your values. I always admired Tom’s Shoes. For every pair of shoes they sell, the give a pair to a needy child. There are several non-profits I would love to work for, like Habitat for Humanity or The Second Harvest. Both help people in need, but they also equip their clients with the basic necessities so they can pursue their dreams.

What makes a job “right” for you? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a consultant, blogger, motivational speaker and freelance writer for Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in Training magazine, Training & Development magazine, Supervision, BiS Magazine and The Savannah Morning News. When she’s not writing, she enjoys singing with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and helping clients reinvent their careers for today’s job market. You can read more of her blogs at and view additional job postings on



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