Compromise in your job search can be a good thing. Without it, plans corrode, ideas atrophy, and you sit in the same unsatisfying cubicle waiting for a mythical “perfect job.” However, there’s a point when compromise goes too far. Zig Ziglar said, “Be careful not to compromise what you want most for what you want now.” It’s a tightrope walk that requires some self-reflection.
How Much Compromise in a Job is Okay?
Where is your line in the sand? Some job seekers have very few non-negotiable job requirements. Others have an extensive list of ingredients that a job needs to follow to a tee. Regardless of which side of the fence you reside on, you need to know your own deal-breakers. Otherwise, landing any new job might be a costly victory.
Your current job is the first indicator of where you can and can’t make compromise. Look at every aspect of your position and imagine your ideal conditions. For example, ask yourself:
• How much can you stand to commute each day? Is 40 minutes too much? An hour? An hour and a half?
• How independent do you need to be? Will micromanagement suffocate your work?
• Can you work in a noisy office? Can you work in relative isolation?
• What level of flexibility does your schedule need?
• Which benefits are nonessential? Which can’t you live without?
• To what extent do the company’s goals need to align with yours?
• Which is more important: having a challenge or having a purpose?
It’s important to realize that it’s improbable that you’ll find a job that fits every single answer. If you’ve ever gone shopping for a home or apartment, you know there is no perfect fit.
Separating Your Wants from Your Needs
The next step requires a bit more soul-searching. Take your answers and run them through the colander. You should be able to sift everything into one of four categories.
• Factors that make you miserable
• Factors that only bother you
• Factors that make you fell okay
• Factors that get you excited
Both polar opposites, the extreme negative and the extreme positive, are the only things that really matter. Another way to put it is:
• What makes you dread going to work?
• What makes you excited going to work?
Anything that conjures up milder emotions should only be a secondary concern. Certainly, if you can get that extra vacation that you’d like, do it. Or if you can telecommute from the office and periodically save on gas, don’t turn up your nose. However, don’t let the extra garnish ruin your chances at something great.
On a Final Note:
Money is important, but it should always be on the lower end of the list. Take a job for a stacked salary alone and your engagement will be quick to go. As long as you don’t compromise on the big things that matter, you’ll find that you’re often happy with your salary too.
by James Walsh