The first step to be satisfied with your career, and happy with the day-to-day life as you live that career is to take the right job in the first place.
To achieve that, you need a significant amount of self-knowledge and the skills to use the interview process to figure out whether a potential job is a good match.
You need to define for yourself what you want in a working environment, and what you need from your working environment. A few examples of the types of questions to ask yourself:
- How much space do you need to be comfortable doing your work? Are open offices OK? Do you need a private office? Are you Ok with a 15 minutes commute? 30? 60?
- How much detail do you want in your instructions from your leaders? How much autonomy? Does that match their leadership style?
- Do you need or want flexible working hours, working from home, or other such arrangements?
Answering these questions requires an understanding of yourself and the environments in which you thrive. What are your values? What are the values of the company you are investigating? What leadership styles work well with your personality?
I’ll try to expand on these questions in the future. For now – be sure to think about them. Use the interview to find the answers you need to understand whether any given company amtches your needs. When they give you a chance to ask questions, do it. If they are on a time crunch and don’t have time to answer all your questions, tell them so. Tell them that you do not have all your questions answered, but if they feel there is potential to work together ask for another time to finish your questions. Tell them why – let them know that you are looking for a great match, not just any job.
Once you have all your answers, be brutally honest with yourself. Does the job you are looking at have the correct characteristics to help you succeed? If not, have the strength to reject it. Don’t try that commute that is too long. Don’t let just one or two unmet requirements slide. Don’t fall into that trap. Define your needs and stick to them. Flexibility is OK in your wants, not your needs.