Know Your Employment Non-Negotiables

Posted on 06. May, 2015 by

One of my favorite tchecklisthings about human resources, and specifically recruiting, is developing relationships with candidates, clients, and employees, and continuing that relationship well after we work together.  I try to catch up with people from past companies, candidates I’ve placed, people I’ve met, etc., at least once a week, and for some reason I’ve been having a similar conversation with many of them.

Maybe it’s because I work in HR, or maybe it’s just common in catch-up conversations, but when you ask someone how things are going at work, you tend to get an answer of extremes, a pro and con list about their current company and job.  You hear things like: “I love my new boss, he’s been a mentor to me ” or “I hate how long it takes to implement something new.”  Of course this type of response makes sense given the question, but lately it’s been the opener to a more interesting conversation.  When you think about the company you work for or the job you perform, there are going to be things you love and things you don’t.  Very rarely do I come across someone who will say “I love everything about my job and my company, I wouldn’t change a thing”.  It’s easy to get hung up on that ideal, finding a company/position that is perfect in every way.  Don’t get me wrong, I hope everyone is fortunate enough to find the ‘perfect’ job and company, but what I’m pointing out is that more commonly, that’s just not the case.

When you are evaluating a job, whether it’s your current one or a potential new one, you have to know your own personal non-negotiables.  For example, my dad has always wanted to work for a company that was close to home. In over 35 years he’s never worked for a company that was more than 10 miles from his home.  Did he have to make sacrifices in other areas? Of course! But the commute was on the top of his list of non-negotiables.

Not every list is that simple.  Maybe you have five or six non-negotiables.  What I’m suggesting is that all of us take some time to make our non-negotiable list – pros and cons as to what’s important to make us happy in our jobs.  Remember though that that doesn’t mean it will be perfect.  I’ve said this phrase so many times: the grass is not always greener.  There’s going to be good things and bad things about any job.  What’s important is that your non-negotiables are met.  Take some time to be self-reflective and think about what’s important to you.  I’d suggest making your list short, two, three, maybe four things, that you can turn to when you’re evaluating your current role or a future one.