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The Hunt for The Ideal Job

If we do not know who we are, and therefore what is it that we would enjoy doing based on our personality, can we really adjust all the time to the environment and live a life of “quiet desperation”? We find out in this article.

Many of my business school students quit after working for only a few months in a job, some of the reasons they cite are listed below.

  • I was bored!
  • I was overworked!
  • It was not what I was promised!
  • The organization is not good!
  • I did not like the profile!
  • I could not handle the job!
  • My boss was not good!
  • The culture is not good!
  • The salary is too low!

Typically we join a company because of 3 reasons:

  • Job Profile (what we do in the company now and will do in the future),
  • Company Brand (which improves our personal branding and provides longevity in employment because the company is doing good)
  • Salary (which allows us to satisfy some of our needs).

We give “salary” the highest priority when starting our career, then “brand” and last, the “job profile”.

Most of the reasons listed above for quitting are emotional and related to what we are expected to do (job profile). We are capable of hard work if we are motivated. If there is a future in the job, we remain motivated.  We find something to do if we are bored. We can tolerate or handle our boss if we want to stay. We will take a low salary (within reason) if I enjoy the work and there is future growth. However, hard work is not a substitute for enjoying our work. We stick around if we enjoy our work.

What creates enjoyment at work?

If I look at the reasons above, I also see issues of personality clashes. For example,

  • when the job requirement does not fit my personality
  • the company culture does not fit my personality
  • I have a personality clash with my boss.

The clash is also about what I do, compared to the expectations by the company and by my boss about what I am supposed to do.  What I do is determined by what I am… in terms of my personality.

The Myers-Briggs Test analyses us in terms of our extrovertism or introvertism, whether we use our 5 senses to gather data or our intuition, whether we use logic or emotions and how much data do we need to make decisions. Evidently, certain jobs require certain personality types.

For example, I am an INFJ. By definition:

INFJs are idealists. They work hard, but are stubborn about their ideals and the type of work they would like to be doing. They’re also often unconventional, complex, and warmly interested in people. They are insightful, perfectionistic and principled. Typical careers for such people are: teachers, counselors, artists. They are the rarest type in the population.

So according to the analysis, I am good in advisory roles and am good as a consultant. If I am asked to execute a project within a given deadline, I may not do a good job. Similarly, I can help in a sales process, but cannot be made directly responsible. I can theorise, understand others’ issues and can give advice, linking a lot of possibilities and perspectives. I would be successful in such careers.

A stakeholder may tell me to go into the Information Technology Sector and run a software project because the company profile is good or the salary is good. It does not mean I will do a good job at it.  I may be technically capable of fulfilling my duty, but that is what it will be: a duty, not a joy.

Nor am I a chameleon. I may be a good actor, but actors change personalities for a short period, not 8-12 hours a day for the rest of their lives. Hence, we cannot say that we will behave in a way that is contrary to our intrinsic personality. That is very strenuous.

To summarize, if we do not know who we are, and therefore what is it that we would enjoy doing based on our personalityFree Web Content, can we really adjust all the time to the environment and live a life of “quiet desperation?”

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Prof. Chandra Kant is a Professor at Indus Business Academy, a top business school in Bangalore, India and has over 25 years experience in Strategic IT implementation for the Banking and Financial Services Sector.

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