Yellow Door

The No. 1 reason why employees change jobs varies depending on the source you’re reading. One list says its “appreciation and recognition,” while another says that “dissatisfaction with upper management” is to blame.

But whatever reason is given, one thing’s for sure: It can be grouped under the overarching category of “cultural fit.”

What Is Cultural Fit?

When we talk about cultural fit in a business setting, we’re talking about a common understanding of expectations. These expectations may relate to the times at which employees arrive at work. They may relate to the standards of dress required during business hours, or the office setup, or how formal or casual conversations should be. They may even include expectations about how quickly employees should respond to emails and phone calls.

Often, we assume that we can work in any environment. Or, we may feel that if there’s a problem with the environment, we’ll be able to fix it. It may never cross our minds that different offices operate with different sets of norms than we might be used to.

These details may seem insignificant at first, but the reality is that they can greatly influence your happiness at work.

What Do You Want in an Employer?

When I meet with a job seeker, I ask them to outline their future employer wish list. Often, however, they produce a list of what they want to avoid, rather than a list of what they want. At the top of the list is generally something like, “I want to work in a respectful environment.” This is the sort of requirement that seems incredibly basic – until it’s not.

Unfortunately, many office environments turn out to be unhealthy places to spend your time – but you often don’t learn this until you’ve already quit your old job and started at the new one.

This is a lesson we should all keep in mind when we interview. Rather than getting caught up in whether or not a company chooses us, we should spend more time thinking about whether we choose the company.

Finding the Right Fit for Yourself

ChairThere are a number of ways to determine whether or not a company is right for you. First, how do your priorities stack up against what the company has to offer? Is this a promotion over your last position? Does it offer more money or better benefits? The answers to these questions will be vitally important in evaluating any job opportunity that comes your way.

Then, you can look at sites like Glassdoor, where employees are encouraged to rate their employers in much the same way that customers rate hotels and restaurants.

Some of the information you can gather will be very direct and straightforward. Other information must be uncovered through thoughtful observation and research.

At the end of the day, it’s far less important that you receive an offer for every job you interview for. It’s more important to find a job that fits you. This will ultimately lead you to fewer jobs, but the ones that do surface will be much more closely matched to your skills, background, and preferred company culture. This will increase your chances of happiness and, therefore, success.

After all, you aren’t made for every job. Wait for the best fit.

A version of this article originally appeared on The Memphis Daily News.

Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.

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