When you're searching for jobs, you're not just looking for anyone who will give you a steady paycheck. You want to find work that, in addition to paying well, gives you a sense of pride and fulfillment that you can only get after a day of taking on challenging tasks and overcoming them. It's the kind of pride that comes with knowing that you're not just checking off boxes, but contributing to a team that's making an impact in your industry and maybe even society as a whole.
There's a theme there: We all want to feel a distinct level of pride in the results we get through the work we do each day. We want to be proud of the answer we give when someone asks "So, what do you do?"
From the outside, it's not always easy to tell exactly how well a specific company will fit your professional needs, especially when it comes to making you proud to work there. Even if you're already working for a company, it's not always easy to tell if you're where you're meant to be. Here are a few things you can look for - beyond just the paycheck and benefits - to make sure that a company is truly right for you.
We all want to work hard and overcome whatever challenges are thrown at us. But all of this hard work won't be as rewarding as it can be if it's not directed at a purpose to which we feel connected.
What does the company promise its customers? What impact does it hope to make on the world?
Having a clear answer to these questions will help you understand what the fruit of your labor will look like in the big picture. A clear brand promise that deeply resonates with you will be the North Star that will guide you to work you can be proud of in the long run and on a day-to-day basis, LinkedIn wrote.
A big part of having a job that you are proud of is in having the leeway to make decisions that affect the direction and outcome of the projects you are working on. The companies that are doing truly impactful work have creative and talented people at the helm, steering the ship and making their presence felt.
What makes these companies great is that they're built on trust. The executives and managers don't hover over the employees, criticizing and questioning every move. They give them the freedom to explore, make mistakes and try new ways of doing things.
Having this kind of freedom is liberating and gives you something to be proud of when all is said and done - after all, you weren't just following orders, you were self-directed and relying on your talent and creativity to make big things happen.
It may sound strange, but this could be the most important point of them all. Year after year, Glassdoor, Fortune, and other publications create their "Top X Places to Work," where they rank companies based on how much their employees enjoy working there. It's very common that when job seekers think of their dream jobs, they look at these lists, pick one of these legendary companies and say "I want to work there!"
"In the quest for a career we're proud of, putting out the best quality of work we possibly can is alpha and omega."
The rankings measure things like benefits, pay and other perks and uses them to come up with the top 50 or so companies in the country. But you should know that these lists don't take everything into consideration, according to a recent New York Times article. In fact, they often leave out one critical aspect of a job that can be the difference between a dream job and one that falls short of expectations: The overall quality of the employees' lives.
The Times interviewed a few employees from top companies on the yearly "Best of" lists and found that while many of them enjoyed the perks and benefits of their jobs, they often felt overworked and stressed out. Even worse is that the stress led them to claim that their work and morale was suffering because of it.
In the quest for a career we're proud of, putting out the best quality of work we possibly can is of the utmost importance. But when you're constantly overwhelmed, you can't do that. When you're researching and interviewing with a company you're interested in, ask the current employees and managers how they feel about how their job fits into their whole life. Do they feel buried under the workload? Does it seem like they're kicking and kicking just to tread water?
If a company doesn't allow its employees to recharge once in a while - whether through flexible hours, time off or other ways to maintain a favorable work/life balance - you may want to reconsider working there, even if the pay and perks are great. You don't have infinite capacity, so you need time to recharge so that when you do get back to work, you can perform to your fullest potential.