We can all find work opportunities for ourselves if we look today. How do you evaluate any work opportunity?
I evaluate any work opportunity based on six factors:
1. Is it remote work?
This first factor was in effect since the beginning of 2019 for me and nothing to do with the pandemic. This was a realization that unless my own work requires moving physical objects, there is no point in being on-site. And I say this as an extravert.
Commuting is a colossal waste of time and natural resources that could be used more productively on anything else you see fit. Seeing/experiencing new places because you want to do so on vacation rather than because you have to commute to work. We saw this very clearly in 2020. I do not see the point of doing any digital work “on-site” for any reason, regardless of who I am working for. Ever. If you have not evolved your thinking, you may be:
A. In survival mode (in an unstable company that is not likely hiring).
B. Trying to justify your commercial office real estate (as it remains mostly empty instead of repurposing it or letting it go).
C. Falsely believing we will all run back to a “normal” shared office space.
D. Failing to realize that we did not need to commute to do digital work in the first place.
E. Forgetting that both global and local relationships can thrive without any physical proximity, thanks to technology.
F. Ignoring the options of scheduled communication and virtual collaboration, regardless of geography.
G. Limiting your own choices locally instead of having more opportunities globally.
H. Restricted because you are still working on digital transformation.
I. Unwilling to work from anywhere.
The smartest companies, those that want to attract and retain the best talent from anywhere (and not limit themselves to local candidates nor people forced to move), realize their employees can be more efficient and effective as a distributed workforce. Back when I traveled for work, I saw travel and commuting as a chore. And it still is. Travel and commuting are not luxuries. Who misses long lines, crowded planes, heavy traffic, or looking for a parking space? Instead, count all the wasted hours that you will never recover. Think about it. Why do that today when you do not have to?
2. Am I paid well?
Some companies are under the illusion that we have lowered our rates because the work can now be done virtually. Those same companies fail to realize that the work has not changed and was able to be done completely virtually for over a decade. My rates have only gone up because I make it easier than ever for clients to engage my services. Simple supply and demand economics. More demand, higher fees. Pay the price or keep looking.
3. Are they listening to me?
Why should I stay if who I work for doesn’t listen/read/pay attention to what I tell them? I can either help a client or I move on to others that want my help. Obviously, we need to listen, read, pay attention and speak up too. Makes sense? Keep reading.
4. Can I make a difference?
If people are not listening/reading/paying attention to what we tell them, we likely can not make a difference unless we assume we know what they need (which can also backfire) or clarify the goals after changes occur. I am a consultant to make a positive difference for clients, not just to collect billable hours.
I do not speak for my other consulting brethren where some have a drug pusher mentality for clients that can not function without them. Who put themselves in that spot? Who needs help getting out of that?
5. Is it what I want to do?
Priorities change just like many other things change around us constantly. We have control over some of these things, and we do not control many other things. We also choose how we spend/waste our attention. Where we work and where we live is something we do control as adults. How did you decide where to live? Why? Why are you working where you do aside from the pay? What company we work for is something we do control. Who applied for the job? Is it still what you want to be doing? Are you good at it? Are you effective? Or is it just a matter of collecting a paycheck? Does it still give you a sense of accomplishment? Is it fulfilling? Do you like it, or is it painful?
6. Am I treated well?
Yes, being treated well by co-workers is important and it starts with treating others well. Being effective can be more important than expecting friendliness. Work is not supposed to be easy, otherwise, we will get bored quickly.
Who are you serving? Does it matter to them? Is it painful to deal with some people? Why? Are certain colleagues interpersonally manipulative or emotionally abusive? Most of the time that does not happen; otherwise, it becomes a serious HR issue. Are you and your supervisor clear on expectations? Do you remain responsive? Do you remain positive? Sometimes remaining positive is a matter of reframing an open conversation. Having respectful conversations is part of the job.
At any point, we will likely learn something new.
When these six factors erode, it is time to evaluate whether to move on, especially if factors #3 and #4 vaporize.
What factors matter to you when you evaluate work opportunities?