Selecting Your Next Job, Part 2

In terms of the criteria that really matter to me in selecting a job, they are roughly below:

  1. People and relationships
    1. Is the manager someone I feel a strong affinity, chemistry to?  
    2. Is s/he someone I feel comfortable being myself with (including raising ‘dumb ideas’)?
    3. Are my colleagues those I would happily sacrifice my personal time to support?
    4. Is the leadership team passionate, smart, and resourceful?
    5. Will I be working with people who are smarter than me?
  2. Characteristics of the company
    1. Is the culture one that has historically valued people and learning?
    2. Is there palpable excitement about the mission and vision among the staff?
    3. Are my personal values in line with the goals of the company?
    4. Is the size/growth trajectory/location manageable?
  3. Nature of the role
    1. Will my learning be at a faster pace / larger scale than anywhere else?
    2. Am I happy with the growth opportunities of my role?
    3. Will I have the ‘right’ balance of autonomy and support from the team, especially as I venture into new areas?
  4. Business stability and viability
    1. Is the business model sound enough now to last for at least 5 more years?  
    2. Are adjacent business opportunities sound enough to last at least 5 more years?
    3. Is there enough funding in the bank to last at least 3 more years?
    4. Are the VC backers reputable and supportive of the business?
    5. Is money being spent smartly on both the business and the people?
  5. Financial considerations
    1. Will I get paid enough to support my current and future lifestyle and commitments?
    2. Does this compensation package take into account my unique experiences, skills, and market rates for this role?
    3. Will I be able to save enough for retirement?
  6. Future opportunities
    1. Assuming I do a good job in role, what kinds of opportunities might I receive afterwards?
    2. Do alums of this company/function go on to do amazing things?
    3. How have the manager or leadership team helped alums find new opportunities?

I posed these mostly as close-ended questions, like a checklist, but when comparing options, these questions convert into open-ended “How much” questions, e.g., “How much do I feel a strong affinity, chemistry to the manager?”, “How much has this culture historically valued people and learning?”

I’d also note that #1-3 are conditions that have to meet a very high bar, and distinguish ‘amazing’ job experiences from ‘meh’ ones.  On the other hand, #4-6 just need to meet threshold conditions.  At least, that’s the case for me.  So an incremental ‘unit’ of, say People and Relationships far exceeds an incremental ‘unit’ of Financial Considerations, as long as Financial Considerations meets a certain minimum threshold.

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