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Most of us want an amazing job. It pays well and allows for that “work-life” balance offered by employers looking to attract the best talent. But what does work-life balance actually look like? And how do we know when we have achieved this elusive nirvana?

Let me explain the four factors I think most people should consider when just starting out, or thinking about a change in career.

Industry

When selecting a career, the first thing to contemplate is the industry you wish to work in. Does it interest you? Does it engage you? Will you be happy working in this area for years to come?

It’s important to feel a connection to the industry we work in – this provides the background for a successful career.

If you feel a connection to the industry, you’re more likely to read broadly about topics related to the industry, contribute positively to the progression forward of the industry (not just the company) and more likely to live passionately.

Company

Next on the list to consider is the company you wish to work for. Do their values align with your own? Do they value family? Career progression? Flexible working arrangements? Does their dress code suit your personality?

Look at the company broadly and identify areas in which you are akin to, and not only these, but the values and traits you don’t align with. Are these deal breakers? A close look at the company will provide you with all you need to know about working there. Doing this will also prepare you for any future job interviews, should you choose to apply.

Your values should align with that of the company to ensure you are not compromising yourself or your values in order to get through the day-to-day.

Team

This can be difficult to assess realistically. You may meet the manager or a part of the team during the interview process, but this doesn’t necessarily give you a true indication. The team as a whole can greatly impact your working environment.

Asking questions during the interview process can be useful in determining how you may fit within a team. What demographics make up the team? Are they social? What are the positive traits of the team as viewed by the manager? And conversely what are the negative traits of the team? By asking questions, you can identify the likelihood of enjoying your employment experience, and whether or not your future truly does rest with this employer.

The team must be encouraging, supportive and empowering in what it does for you. This provides a positive environment and reduces stress levels, in turn promoting a more positive quality of life.

Role

The last factor is often the most crucial – the role in which you will play within your team, company and industry. Does it challenge you? Does it provide the satisfaction you crave? Does it fit your skillset? Does it provide a platform for you to express who you are as a person and show the best of what you have to offer? Does it provide the opportunity to progress further and to grow?

The role you apply for must meet all of the above and more. Include each of these as considerations when applying or you may be left feeling demotivated and looking for the next ticket out. The role must inspire you to be the best you possibly can. It must challenge you to make tough decisions, and test your abilities in a supportive environment to help you improve yourself. The role must also engage your unique skillset to build a greater sense of self worth and positive self-esteem.

When it comes down to it, your career is what you make it. A positive mindset and a passionate personality will drive you to success, and a thorough look at the factors above will lead you down the right path.

Dan Fairbairn

Dan is passionate about technology as an enabler, with years of experience training, evaluating and implementing technology into small businesses. Outside of work he loves live music, craft beer and over-analysing sport...!

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