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Crafting Your Must-Have List for the Next Job Search:

Years ago, while conversing with a friend, I was introduced to a concept that, at first, I dismissed as somewhat superficial. He shared with me a detailed list of qualities he sought in his next romantic partner. I remember thinking, "Isn't that a bit shallow?" Yet, as time passed and I found myself navigating the complexities of single life, his words began to resonate with me in unexpected ways.

Fast forward to today, and you might wonder how this ties into the professional world. The truth is, I've applied a similar framework to my job search and have been advocating the same to my clients. The idea is simple yet profound: just as you might seek specific qualities in a partner, it's equally crucial to define what you desire in your next job.

The 'list', as I call it, has evolved significantly over the years, shaped by experiences, lessons learned, and a clearer understanding of what I need and rightfully deserve. Initially, it was about the tangibles – salary, job title, company prestige. But as my career progressed, I realized the importance of intangibles, which led to my latest addition: psychological safety.

Why Psychological Safety Became a Cornerstone:

As a Black woman, my professional journey has been riddled with instances where my identity was marginalized and my voice subdued. Psychological safety, therefore, emerged as a crucial need – it represented an environment where I could be my authentic self without fear of retribution or disrespect.

Guidance for Creating Your Own List:

  1. Start with Reflection: Consider your past job experiences. What aspects did you appreciate, and what elements were lacking? This introspection is key to understanding your true professional desires.

  2. Identify Your Core Values: What values are non-negotiable for you in the workplace? These could range from creativity and innovation to diversity and inclusion.

  3. Consider Work Environment and Culture: Beyond the job role, think about the type of environment in which you thrive. Do you prefer a collaborative team or more independent work? Is work-life balance a priority?

  4. Think About Growth Opportunities: How important is career advancement to you? Consider aspects like training opportunities, mentorship, and the potential for upward mobility.

  5. List the Tangibles: While intangibles are crucial, don’t overlook the tangibles like salary, benefits, and location. These are essential to your overall job satisfaction.

  6. Prioritize and Be Flexible: Recognize that no job will fulfill every criterion on your list. Determine which factors you're willing to compromise on and which are deal-breakers.

  7. Review and Revise: Your list should be dynamic, evolving as you grow in your career and personal life. Periodically review and adjust it as necessary.

By crafting a list that aligns with your personal and professional aspirations, you not only steer your career in a fulfilling direction but also empower yourself to make informed decisions. It’s not just about landing any job; it’s about finding a role that resonates with who you are and who you aspire to be.

Whether it's seeking a partner or a job, knowing what truly matters to you makes all the difference. So, take a moment to jot down your must-haves for your next job – it's a proactive step towards a satisfying and enriching career path.

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