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Are You Working at the Right Job? Here's How to Tell

February 22, 2014
Karolina Szczur

Some of my friends ask me for advice on how to find a job. Every single time I feel extremely flattered by the trust they have put in me. They may all have different goals, expectations, and experiences, but they all deserve one thing -- a chance for qualityemployment.

This can be hard to come by these days though -- in the world of overworking, chasing after money, and lack of respect for yourself and others. Companies grow too fast, teams lose intimacy and closure, goals shift.

During eight years of my career I have worked at more than ten product-oriented companies or agencies, and I've also had dozens of clients when freelancing. Some of those jobs were terrible, some of them were OK, but almost none made me happy. Up until now.

This isn't a pamphlet for the greatest company on Earth. Hopefully it will make you think before you choose to accept a new job or leave the current one. Or it may help you think about how you can help your current company better.

If you were to ask me what to look for in a prospective employer, team or client, I would tell you to work where...

Your work is being appreciated

In an honest and public way (be it internally or for the entire world wide web). And if you're doing a mediocre or lousy job, it will be clearly communicated. In those cases--help will be given.

Your workplace is a safe place

When conflict arises or there are uncomfortable situations or clear violation of personal space or the team's code of conduct, everyone feels confident to voice their concerns. Action is taken. People creating a non-safe environment are held responsible for their actions, no matter their position.

You are not expected to know it all

As Basecamp says, "We are not looking for someone who's already expert in everything they do. We're looking for someone great who demonstrates the interest, drive, and desire to keep learning new things and continually get better."

Your time is valued

There is no expectation for you to compromise your mental and physical health for the sake of more money in someone else's pocket. Overworking is considered a bad example, overhours accepted only if voluntary and appropriately rewarded.

Your health is crucial

If you need a break -- take it.

Your salary is equal

Your income should be based on the market, no matter if remote or on-site. You are not paid less because of your nationality, geographical location, race, or gender.

You are not a trophy

You are not your boss' possession -- you've been hired for your expertise, not to be a prize on a shelf that your employer can brag about acquiring. You're not a conference popularity card or PR campaign face either.

You make a difference

You are pushed and encouraged to make a difference, be it tiny or huge, in the lives of your co-workers, clients, or buyers of the product.

Setting those expectations is crucial for taking care of your mental well-being and self-esteem, and creating a productive, happy work environment. By doing that you also push those who fail at improving inclusivity and equality in the right direction.

The important thing to remember is -- no one will do it for you. Respect yourself and expect respect from others.

Good luck.