What To Look For In A Company To Make Sure Your Next Job Is A Perfect Fit

by Anna Johansson
Warner Bros. Pictures

Do you dread going to work? Are you afraid you'll end up spending the next 30 or 40 years of your life working for companies you don't like?

If so, you aren't alone.

However, the good news is, it doesn't have to be this way forever.

You can find a job that will make you happy, but you need to know what you're looking for.

Determining what makes you happy

The average person working 40 hours a week for 40 years works spends roughly 80,000 hours at the office.

That's more than nine full years spent working around the clock.

So, the next time someone tries to tell you that you don't need to love your job – that it's just a job – don't fall for their vague platitude.

Outside of your own home, you won't spend more time anywhere in the world than at your place of employment.

Why does all of this matter?

Well, for one, it squashes the myth that your job is just a place where you go to pass time and collect a paycheck. Your job will leave an undeniable mark on your life and can shape the trajectory of both your career and personal life.

You'll pick up new skills, habits, friends and interests at work, and many will spill over into other areas of your life.

So, while the generations before us may have separated work and life into neat compartments and had the luxury of treating their jobs as just jobs, we operate in a modern society in which careers – and even the companies we work for – determine very important details of our lives.

This includes happiness.

When you look at your job this way, it quickly becomes evident that happiness and satisfaction are key characteristics worth evaluating in any job search.

And what you really need to be thinking about is what makes you happy.

Happiness is such a subjective state of being. Your version of happiness is not the same as my version of happiness, which is altogether different from someone else's version of happiness.

We can all be happy, but the satisfaction that produces happiness is rooted in unique sources.

With that being said, the very first thing you have to do before searching for a company that makes you happy is to determine your definition of happiness.

Once you have this picture in mind, you'll know the right company when you see it.

What to look for

The process of finding a job is challenging and complicated. It depends on where you are in your career, how thick your resume is, who you know, where you're located, what positions happen to be open when you're looking and a myriad of other characteristics.

While it's easy to throw your hands up in the air and take a “woe is me” attitude, you need to push on with focused attention and seek out the perfect company.

Here are some specific ways you can find an employer that will make you happy:

1. Focus on employee satisfaction.

Want to know whether or not you'll be happy working for a specific company? The easiest way to find out is by looking at if current and past employees are satisfied.

While you can go digging around for this information – reading online reviews, speaking with past employees, etc. – it's best to find companies that are open about how their employees feel.

For an example of this, check out Triniti.

Each year, it publishes a report titled "Employee Growth, Turnover and Happiness Survey Trends."

In this report, it transparently displays results from its annual internal survey that analyzes how employees feel.

This practice is becoming increasingly popular in other organizations and is something to keep an eye on as you vet employers.

2. Prioritize upward movement.

If you're like most people, you aren't going to be satisfied doing the same thing forever.

While we, as humans, are creatures of habit, we also like to experience change. In terms of your job, you need to look for companies that offer ample opportunities for upward movement.

Upward mobility is simply the term used to describe a company's track record of promoting from within and giving employees the chance to rise up within the ranks.

You can determine a company's upward mobility by reading the bios and resumes of individuals in management and executive leadership positions.

Did they hold previous positions with the company, or were they hired from the outside?

3. The “right” feeling

While you can crunch numbers and read reports until your eyes are bleary, finding a company that makes you happy ultimately comes down to your gut.

Does the job feel right?

The last thing you want is to be blinded by things that don't really matter.

Business expert Wallace Immen said,

Many job candidates are often too focused on the potential job to notice that the place is micromanaged, or that the team has habits that irritate them. But look around; you can feel it in your stomach if something doesn't seem right.

4. Beggars can't be choosers.

You know the saying "beggars can't be choosers"? It means people in compromising situations don't have the freedom to be selective.

Well, this certainly applies in a job search. If you're begging to find a new job and are willing to take on any opportunity that comes your way, you aren't going to have much leverage to secure a position that makes you happy.

It's important for you ditch the beggar mindset (even if you're in desperate need of a job). Instead, become a job seeker who's confident enough to turn down a job that doesn't align with their needs and wants.

5. Enlist the help of your friends.

Let's be honest: Who knows you better than your friends? If you're looking for a job that makes you happy – and they know exactly what makes you tick – then it makes sense that you'd enlist the help of your friends.

When you have four or five people helping you look for jobs – as opposed to just you –more doors suddenly open.

This can only enhance your chance of finding a good job.

6. Put your career on the right track.

While your job doesn't define who you are, it does influence who you become and the way in which you view the world.

If you want to be happy, you need to find a job that makes you happy.

You spend too much time at your place of employment not to take this matter seriously.