Deciding on when to accept a job comes down to three questions
We’ve all been there. When we have a job, gig, opportunity or payday staring us right in the face. Some days saying yes to a job is easy as saying yes to yet another slice of pizza (because there really is never too much pizza). But sometimes, for whatever reason, saying yes is a struggle. Or maybe saying no is the difficult part. Why?
Is the pay not what you were hoping for? Does the outward appearance of the opportunity not seem enjoyable? Does it look like you are just going to be bored if you do take it?
It could be any or all of these. And the way to figure it out is to ask yourself these three questions.
- Will this job challenge me?
- Will I enjoy this job?
- Will this job pay me what I am worth?
Before going any further, I must credit this topic to Erin Youngren, one-half of the San Diego-based wedding photography team, The Youngrens. I was watching a webinar she was giving about how wedding vendors should focus on finding their ideal clients and the way to go about doing that. She brought up those three questions as a best practice methods to finding that ideal client.
These questions really stuck with me because they are perfect to consider for independent contractors, the self-employed and even for those seeking a “traditional nine to five” job
Reason being, we would all love to work with our “ideal clients” 100% of the time; or work for a company that is ideal for us, but the reality is … reality. We have bills to pay, creative energy that needs to be exercised and a yearn to feel fulfilled.
Enjoying a job where you are being creatively challenged and being paid for that is the nirvana we strive for. However, we can’t always bat three for three.
But if you can answer "yes" to two of those three aforementioned questions, then that job just might be worth taking.
Here is a look at the three possible combinations:
Combination #1: Fueling Your Soul
A job that is challenging and fun, but doesn’t pay much (A + B)
These are the type of jobs we volunteer for because we believe in the cause or enjoy being with the people we are working with. It satisfies our soul, but not our wallet. These opportunities should complement paid opportunities and when handled correctly can facilitate potentially important connections.
Combination #2: Show Me The Money
A challenging job that pays well but is not enjoyable at all. (A + C)
Sometimes the pay is just too good, and maybe the potential job has nuances that will challenge you and help you learn new skills. But never do it “just for the money,” because you will almost always regret it.
Combination #3: The Status Quo
A job that is enjoyable and pays well but is not challenging (B + C)
What’s not to love about getting paid to do something? But you need to be careful and selective about these jobs, because eventually you could get stuck in the inevitable feeling of complacency.
I think about the opportunity I had to DJ at a 50’s style diner. I grew up listening to my oldies music because that’s what my parents listened to. So getting paid to take the role of a 50s era radio DJ while getting a free meal during my shift seemed great. But then I realized the monotony of it. Eventually, I would just feel like I was just clocking in, clocking out? I knew it was unlikely to challenge and persuade me to learn new skills.
Until I heard Erin mention these questions, I’m certain I had not consciously asked those questions myself. In fact, it is likely I focused on one when considering a job. The key takeaway for me, and all of you, is to take on a mix of these combinations.
We need to earn a living, but it should not be at the expense of shying away from your values or falling into the trap of complacency.
Finding the perfect job or the perfect client doesn’t happen by waiting for it or for them to show up. It happens by engaging in and deciding which ones are right for you when opportunities present themselves.