Work doesn’t have to be boring. Find the right company for you.

You’ll spend about 90,000 hours at work throughout your life. 

So, you want to ensure you’re comfortable in your work environment. We know that’s easier said than done—often, since they’re just starting out in their careers, students focus primarily (or only) on finding just any job without recognizing their personal workplace needs. (And, sometimes that’s necessary—we all need sufficient income.)

But finding the right job isn’t only about what you can do for the company; it’s also about what the company can do for you. So, here are IGNITE’s tips for determining if a company is the right workplace for you

Reach out to current and former employees

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If you enjoy your work environment, it makes sense to stay. That’s why, when you want to know if a company is a good place to work, the best people to talk to are—well—the people who’ve worked there.

Plus, some jobs have multiple openings for the same position. So, if you can, try to get in touch with people working in the same role you’re applying for. 

Here are some good things to inquire about when you get in touch with potential colleagues:

  • How long have current employees been working there?
  • What do team members like and dislike about the work environment?
  • Why did employees who are no longer with the company leave?

And, at your interview, feel free to ask the employer why a position is vacant—you have a right to know why the former employee left.

Determine if the company is team-or individual-focused

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Seek out whether the company you’re looking at tends to prioritize teamwork or independence. To do this, you can ask questions like:

  • Is the office open- or closed-concept?
  • What does a typical meeting look like?
  • What team-building elements are present in the workplace?

Evaluate your own work style against your findings and decide whether that type of environment is suited to you.

Evaluate your values

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In other words, ask yourself if your values align with the company’s.

Although it’s great to step out of your comfort zone, it can be hard working for a company that doesn’t line up with your values because it can make you feel compelled to mask who you are in your workplace.

To help with this, many companies have sections on their websites describing their values and beliefs—and you can even discuss this with the employer.

Consider compensation

Squidward from Nickelodeon's "Spongebob Squarepants" showering in money.
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It’s a good idea to avoid questions about pay at your interview; but, once you have an offer, don’t be afraid to ask the employer what your compensation will be so you won’t be blindsided. Then, ask yourself:

  • Is the hourly pay or yearly salary enough money for your lifestyle?
  • How does this salary compare to that of similar positions at other companies?
  • Based on current estimates, what should you be making at this stage in your career?

And, don’t be afraid to discuss pay with others in your field or at the company—transparency will benefit you both.

Look for room to grow

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If you’re looking for a long-term career and have high goals of moving up the ranks, see if the company typically provides the opportunity to advance. Sometimes companies will provide (and pay!) for further training or education to help you grow to your full potential.

Psst—this is another great thing to chat about with current and former employees. How many executives started as interns?

Find balance

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It’s super important to ensure your work has hours that balance well with your everyday life.

If you are in a younger stage of your life, you might be OK with working weekend shifts; but your circumstances will likely change if and when you want a family.

Now it’s your turn! Using these tips, evaluate your needs and make sure you end up somewhere worth spending 90,000 hours.

For more tips to further your future, tune into IGNITE’s Real Talks with Tiffany Haddish on Thursday, Nov. 18!

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