Picking a winner: How to choose the right place to work

Picking a place of work is a big decision. And there’s more pressure on those with skills, whether a trade or a university degree.

“You have an education, it should be easy to get a job”

Society

Our expertise become a burden. We tend to rush, rather than taking the time to decide where to work. We tell ourselves that the pay seems fair, the conditions are acceptable and the employer isn’t a total boob.

So, we take the job – even as doubt hovers.

Unreal

The same is true in the world of physiotherapy.

Sometimes, the recruitment approach is more diligent. We’re told what the culture is like and how the professional development is run. We meet the team. They seem like nice people who enjoy where they work.

But being told is not enough.

Words are wind, after all – as cynical as this may sound. The company could be desperate. Or, they might really want us to work for them.

We need to look past the hygiene factors – like salary and security (though these are important too). We need to take our time and be thoughtful when deciding where to work.

What do we want?

We’re part of the problem.

We don’t take the time to consider what’s important to us. What do we want from a workplace? So, this is the first step – defining our desires.

  • Do we want to be pushed?
  • Do we want a learning environment?
  • Are we after a clinic that uses a certain management approach? One that emphasises exercise or education?
  • Or, maybe we value a tight-knit team

Let’s cover the hygiene variables too. How much do we expect to be paid? What hours do we want to work? Are we OK with working weekends?

This doesn’t mean we decline all offers until we find the holy grail of workplaces. We should remain flexible and compromise.

Transparency

Great. We know what we want. Now, we make this known to the employer. We can’t be timid when they ask, ‘What do you expect from us?’ This is the time to share our values. And vitally, we don’t say something is OK when it isn’t.

Then, we work together to see if we can find a suitable middle ground. We don’t yield at the first objection. We stay firm. After all, the employer has a lot to gain from the right employee:

  • A lengthy and productive career
  • Excellent patient outcomes (enhancing the reputation of the company)
  • A fine team member who helps to create a prosperous work environment
  • Time and money saved from not having to recruit again and again

Investigate

Now that we’ve found an organisation that looks good on paper, it’s time to test. That is:

  • Are we a good fit?
  • Is the company who they say they are
  • Can we see ourselves making a meaningful contribution over time?

So, what does this evaluation look like?

A good starting point is shadowing another employee – ideally once that’s skilled. Watch how they take on the role. How do they speak to others? The ones their managing as well as those within their own team.

What important attributes do they have? Do we have these? Or, are we confident of learning them?

Examine their demeanour and body language too. Do they look happy? Are they challenged?

Trial

Watching another person is good but it’s not the same as doing the work. So, a work trial is the next step.

We ask the employer – can I fulfil this role for a day, a week? What an opportunity to get a better understanding of the true nature of the job.

It can be confronting when someone watches as we work. And it’s only natural to deviate from how we’d truly approach the role. But this is OK. Use their presence as a feedback tool. How did I do? What could I have done better?

Probing probation

OK. The trial ticked all of the boxes too. We’re eager to start work. But we must remember that a work trial is but a small snapshot of what our career could look like.

This is why we need to make the most of the probation period.

Often, probation is perceived as an inconsequential part of the contract. Or, a convenient door from which employers can boot underperforming recruits. But, instead, we should see it as an extended work trial. It’s a chance to thoroughly examine our fit for the role.

So, let’s not neglect it’s importance. Let’s gain as much value as we can by seeking regular feedback as well as honestly scrutinising our own thoughts and emotions. Then, we can make a decision that’s best for us and the employer at the end of probation.

Diligence

It’s true, some of us are not as fortunate as others. For many, there is a pressing need to make money – to pay for rent and food (and Netflix).

But it pays to be patient even when the pressure to meet necessity is strong. Or, deeply thoughtful in our decision-making process, if we’re pressed for time. Otherwise, we’ll soon find that we’re unhappy and ready to jump ship once more.

Author: Andrew Cammarano

Andy writes about anything that comes to mind. Oftentimes, he repeats himself. So, if you read a post and ask yourself, "I feel like I've read this before." Chances are you have. Apart from writing, he eats a diet high in peanut butter, he exercises (and suffers from a chafed butt from performing too many sit-ups in pursuit of a six-pack) and comes up with many fantastical ideas, like his peanut butter-based chafe cream. Reach out to him to share your opinions (or if you'd like to become his chafe cream business partner).

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