Finding a job is hard. Finding a job you love is even harder, especially if you’re someone who can do many things and have different interests and passions. It’s no wonder millennials switch jobs more often than previous generations. In fact, 42% of us change jobs every two to three years with 60% of us constantly open to new opportunities. This might have to do with the fact that only 29% of millennials reported being engaged at work, according to a Gallup study. Yet, our expectations aren’t very different from those of older workers.
I would imagine multipotentialites account for a big portion of the remaining 71% of millennials who aren’t engaged at work. It’s harder for us to be satisfied with our job mainly because we can’t picture ourselves doing one thing forever. So it’s not uncommon to find ourselves in Steve Jobs’ shoes when he said, “I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
Whether you’re gearing up for a career change or looking to move up the corporate ladder, here are five important things to look for in a job that will nurture your mutlipotentiality and lead to your growth and satisfaction:
You have the opportunity to wear different hats
A cross-functional role will allow you to exercise your multidimensional personality and develop a wide range of skills. It will challenge you to stretch your potential and discover new options. The startup I worked at in 2015 had a rotation program which gave interns the choice to work in different departments after each quarter. I first joined their Operations team, switched to sales then settled in the marketing department. Yet, we still had a multidisciplinary approach when it came to problem solving. It was very challenging, but it pushed me out of my comfort zone and think outside of the box.
Startups or small companies tend to foster a more collaborative environment. Say you work as a social media manager of a digital media company. Maybe you can take the initiative to work with the editorial team on certain projects? If your day to day slots you into a routine, it’s up to you to be proactive and expand your portfolio. You will also become more marketable as a result.
You fit the culture
When it comes to your career, it is not enough to love what you do. It’s crucial to be in the right environment, surrounded by people you can learn from and contribute to. The best companies don’t just have employees. They have mentors and coaches, people who are genuinely there to support each other. And they can only do that if the owners share these principles. Culture is the personality of a company. It’s what keeps employees engaged and gives them a reason to brag about their job.
Tech startups are known to have a very laid-back culture: casual dress code, cross-functional roles, beer parties on Fridays or exclusive concerts, nap rooms and ping pong tables…you name it. It’s no surprise these jobs are so competitive! Still, it’s not for everyone. You could be doing what you love and getting paid all the money in the world, but if you’re not comfortable in that kind of workplace, you will not be happy. So it’s all about identifying what you’re a fit for. At interviews, ask questions that pertain to the office culture. What is your boss’s managerial style? What are the people like? Do they work together? If you could get a tour of the office or chat with different employees, that’s cherry on top of the cake!
Here are key characteristics to keep in mind:
a. A spirit of innovation and an openness to ideas
As multipotentialites, we have a lot of ideas. We are constantly challenging ourselves to think creatively and merge our interests. So it’s important to be in a working environment that embraces new ideas and encourages employees to take initiatives.
Ever heard of intrapreneurs? Investopedia defines them as inside entrepreneurs. In other words, they are “employees within a company who are assigned to work on a special idea or project, and they are instructed to develop the project like an entrepreneur would.” If a company trusts you to the point where they invest in you like that, you have a golden opportunity to carve your own path – without the risks associated with going out on your own.
b. Flexible working conditions
Does the company put their employees first? Then their policy will reflect that. Sometimes, you’ll want to work from home and other days you’ll feel like going to the office. Can they accommodate that? When you’re juggling multiple projects, having the flexibility to work from anywhere is a huge help. You’ll likely be more efficient since you’ll save time on commuting.
c. Talented and supportive team – aka “friends”
Humans thrive on social connections, so naturally, we gravitate towards the people around us – classmates, colleagues, teachers etc. There’s nothing like having friends at work! How many times have you heard someone say that getting to work with some people is the best part of their job? When you’re part of an awesome team, it affects your engagement, productivity and overall happiness. In fact, in a LinkedIn study, 57% of 18-24 year-olds reported being more happy when they have friends at work. 50% of them said it makes them feel more motivated and 39% of them felt more productive as a result. This shows that career happiness is linked to the relationships you have at work.
They invest in your education
Suppose you struggle with a particular area of your role and would like to improve, you would benefit from your company putting in place a library of resources to help you hone that skill. Whether it be online courses, tuition reimbursement, paid off-site seminars and workshops or training sessions, educational opportunities at your job will help you excel in your career. They also pave the way for horizontal mobility, which is intrinsic to professional development. My old startup used to host bimonthly lectures on a topic that was relevant to the industry. They had also purchased a library of courses for us to use if we wanted to master a particular skill. Their prioritization of employee success made me feel even more connected to the company.
Don’t trade your time for just dollars. Cultivate experiences, grow as much as you can and build valuable relationships. A job is what you make of it. As Earl Nightingale said, “Jobs are owned by a company. You own your career!”
When considering your next job offer, remember this from Brian Tracy, “If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.”