What Does Your Ideal Work Place Look Like?

The quick answer might be your back garden, the local park or the beach, at the moment! But thinking in more depth about the kind of organisation and environment you’re best suited to is time well spent.

It puts you in control – rather than telling yourself you’ll have to make yourself fit in to whatever organisation offers you a job, you can go out and look for what suits you. Without knowing what we want, we can spend years, going from one similar organisation to another, with a nagging sense that something’s wrong but never really understanding why.

As a career coach, when I work with clients I ask them questions to help them get to the bottom of where they’d really like to be. So, if you want to find out too, here’s some of those questions for you to ponder:

An organisation or self employment?

  • If you want to work for an organisation what size appeals to you? Do you thrive on being part of a large complex corporate with layers of management and maybe the chance to move into other parts of the business? Or does a medium size organisation that you can get to know more quickly feel a better match for you?
  • Or what about a small business? Does being part of a close knit team and the increased likelihood of having to muck in to get things done outside your main job description sound exciting?
  • And what about being your own boss? Some people immediately rule this out as being too insecure or frightening but does it really have to be that way? What would be the pros and cons for you? They’re different for everyone. If you value your freedom, this could be the way forward – either solo or in partnership with someone else.

Values, culture and business sector

  • What values would you like the organisation you work for to have? For some, an organisation that’s straightforwardly about maximising profit is exciting, for others it’s a turn off. Which is it for you? How important is your organisation’s business? Do you need to believe in what it’s doing or producing? Do you want to be part of something that is trying to make a difference in some way?
  • This leads on to the type of business areas you’re interested in. Does cutting edge, modern business get you excited or are you drawn to more traditional sectors? Do you want to work somewhere that values newness and innovation or somewhere that’s rooted in established products, services and ways of working? What type of business do you feel genuinely interested in?
  • What kind of culture is your ideal match? Do you want to work somewhere that feels quite relaxed, and flexible, maybe with a casual dress code to match? Or somewhere that’s more structured and possibly has a more “suited and booted” dress code?
  • What would your ideal organisation be offering to its employees? Is a big salary your priority or are you looking for other benefits like the opportunity for flexible working and a track record of investing in training and development? It could be all of these and more, but ask yourself, what really matters to you?

Colleagues, pace and place

  • You spend a lot of time with them, and you obviously can’t know exactly what they’re like until you start working with them, but ideally what kind of people do you want to work with? Do you like variety, a real mix of outlooks and opinions, or do you prefer to work with people who share your outlook?
  • If your possible future manager is interviewing you, what’s your sense of how you’d get on together? What’s their attitude like? Do you warm towards them or does the idea of them being your boss leave you feeling unsettled? Don’t be afraid to trust your instinct!
  • What pace do you like to work at? Are you an adrenaline junkie who can’t get on with things unless there’s a bunch of tight deadlines staring you in the face or is that your idea of hell? Are you looking for the kind of environment where you have more time to think?
  • Does the physical location of an organisation matter to you? Are you bored with commuting and looking for something more local? Or do you want the buzz of a city or town, no matter what the journey?
  • Once you know what your ideal organisation and working environment looks like, go down another layer to choose your absolute “must haves” and what you’re prepared to trade off, if need be. Arming yourself with this information means you can put all your effort into finding an organisation that fits you. As plans go, it’s better than just hoping you’ll get lucky next time you make a move!

Michelle Bayley is a Certified Professional Life and Career Coach. To find out about coaching with Michelle click here.