Imagine this — You have finally found your perfect job, one that ticks all the boxes: the company is good, the work culture matches your personality, and the compensation parallels your skill and value. You worked hard at every job interview, and you finally got accepted!
On your first day of work, you had to wake up 4 hours before your actual working time because the commute takes three hours. You don’t mind it in your first week. But as time goes by, you grow sicker and sicker of commute hours taking up so much of your time and energy that you are now contemplating leaving this so-called “perfect job”.
Why did you get miserable? It was perfect. The job gave you fulfillment. The position had everything on your career wishlist. It is because you did not consider the things you don’t want to have in your career.
There are abundant literature and advice out there that says you have to know what you want to find fulfillment in your career.
However, very few people tell you that you also need to know what turns you off in a job, and being aware of the things you do not want in a career path is equally important as knowing the things you want.
- 5 Advantages of a ‘Do Not Want’ List for Your Job Search
- 8 Things to Consider in Creating Your ‘Do Not Want’ List
- 5 Steps on How to Create Your ‘Do Not Want’ List
- 5 Important Things to Remember Before You Create a “Do Not Want” List
5 Advantages of a ‘Do Not Want’ List for Your Job Search
1. It Makes You Intentional
Having a “Do Not Want” List will make you more aware of the things you do and the things you are willing to sacrifice to reach your goals. This list supplements what you want and centers your intentions in getting a job.
For example, your bigger goal of looking for a new job opportunity is to give your family more time. Automatically, you start considering positions with shorter working hours. However, having a “Do Not Want” list will make you more aware of what you do not want that will prevent you from reaching the goal.
Among the things in your “Do Not Want” List will involve — I don’t want a long commute, I don’t want a job that will require me to travel, I don’t want a job requires me to meet clients outside working hours. These things will center you and will make you more intentional in finding that dream job.
2. It Helps Filter Out Opportunities
Knowing what you want is always a good thing in looking for a new career path. But what gives you the boost to direct you to the job you want is knowing what you do not want in a job. It provides a more balanced outlook in looking out for job opportunities and, in the end, will give you the best choices that are most suited for the goal you have in mind.
Knowing what you do not want in a job is like yin to the yang of knowing what you want. It makes you view job opportunities in your way through a more holistic and appropriate filter for your goals.
3. It Gives You Self Worth
Setting up boundaries to make yourself feel better, more secure, and more fulfilled is surprisingly empowering. There is a power in saying “no”. The same goes for looking for a job. Recognizing and being aware of what you do not want in a job does not automatically make you ‘picky’ in looking for opportunities.
Rather, it is part of knowing what you deserve and knowing your self-worth. The power to say no gives you control over what you allow and what you are entitled to in your professional life. That power ultimately leads to long-term satisfaction and fulfillment in your career.
4. It Saves You Time and Frustration
You will learn that not every opportunity that fits your wants will make you happy. Life is not one-dimensional. For example, you may think that a higher compensation job will make your life easier and more content.
However, you failed to consider that you do not want a company whose culture is not aligned with your values. So you take the job, without knowing what you do not wish to, and end up going to the office miserable every day, and that happiness will only come during the paydays.
It is one of the most incredible benefits of having a “Do Not Want” list. You will begin to see the things that will make you unhappy before they even affect your life. The list will help you make better decisions that you will thank yourself for in the long run.
5. It Makes You See What You Want
Sometimes, in your journey towards a new career path, you may get overwhelmed by what you think you want in a job.
You may also be allured by job opening descriptions that seem to say all the right words and seem to make the position the one you are dreaming about. But that is the point of job opening descriptions: they make the words attractive enough for competent people to apply.
Having a “Do Not Want” list will help you see through all the shiny words of job descriptions and all your idealistic views about looking for a job and bring you to the reality of what bad aspects of the position you are not willing to go through. Having this list will make you realize what you want to get to that dream job.
8 Things to Consider in Creating Your ‘Do Not Want’ List
1. Company Values
These include the nature, principles, mission, vision, and advocacy of the potential company you are applying to.
These are the fundamental beliefs or core values of an institution and influence their goals, operations, management, and overall direction. These are usually found on the company website. It is essential to know these and assess them if they align with your values.
Compensation for your work is a crucial part of your “Do Not Want” list.
In assessing this aspect, you should know what skills and experience you bring to the table and the industry’s range of compensation. This way, you can set manageable and realistic expectations and not set yourself up for failure or being short-changed.
It is also an essential aspect of your career “Do Not Want” List. It is sometimes overlooked because people tend to focus on the specifics of the job and not its logistics. Set a place where you are comfortable commuting to work and the number of hours you are willing to spend going to and from work. You should also consider whether the area gets packed with traffic during rush hours or your office hours.
4. Work Schedule
Similarly, set the schedule you want to have for your work. Are you comfortable with the usual 8 to 5 shift? Are you open to working night shifts of flexible hours?
You should also determine if there are meetings outside work hours or conferences during the weekends that you need to accommodate in your work.
Aside from compensation, you should also know what benefits you want to have in the prospective company you will apply for. Various benefits range from transportation allowances, healthcare, wardrobe allowances, and the like.
Once you determine which benefits you like, you can put in your list that you “do not want” a position that does not give benefits or only provides “x” benefits.
6. People and Culture
Aligning your personality with the people and the work culture is also important in fulfilling your daily work grind. You don’t have to have the same or similar cultures.
Just take notes of the ones that you do not want and cannot tolerate, and that is what will go on your list.
7. Nature of Work
This includes what kind of work you will be doing, the definition of your position, and the scope of your responsibilities. Know what parts of the job are not aligned with your skills and put them on your list.
8. Management Style
Everyone responds to a different kind of leadership. Know what kind of leadership or management you usually respond to, what you can tolerate, and what you cannot accept as an employee.
5 Steps on How to Create Your ‘Do Not Want’ List
1. Reflect and Visualize
SIt down in a quiet corner and reflect on your career path. Pick a time when you know you won’t be bothered by work or errands you need to do. Visualize yourself going through work daily. Think of the things that may cause negative feelings in your life.
Reflect and visualize yourself working in the position you want to apply for or the company you want to be in. Take your time and do not rush yourself. You can also think about your previous experiences and how you can apply them in your career.
2. Ask for Input
After taking time to reflect and visualize, you can also ask for input from the people who know you and those who know the industry’s ins and outs. For the people who know you, ask them about what they think agitates you the most and upsets you the most in general. Think about their feedback and how you can apply these in your career.
Meanwhile, ask the experts in the industry you are applying for about what non-negotiables you should have in your job. Ask them what practices are frowned upon or how companies usually treat their employees in their work.
3. Write It All Down
Now that you have internal and external input, you are ready to make your list’s first draft. Choose whether you want to write it using a piece of paper or digitally. You can choose anything you are comfortable with as long as you know when to access the list when you need it.
Do not restrict yourself and start writing down all the things that you do not want in a job. Use the list above to cover all aspects you need to consider in your list. Be as specific and as comprehensive as you can in determining your non-negotiables in your next employment.
4. Assess and Rank Them
Once you are done writing all the things you do not want in your job, start assessing them one by one.
For each item, ask the following questions:
- Why did I include this on my list?
- On a scale of 1 to 5, how bad do I not want these in my career?
- Am I willing to sacrifice some opportunities to make sure that I don’t get this in my next employment?
After assessing each item, rank your list, starting with the thing that you do not want the most in your job at the top. Start adding up until you finish ranking the items.
Lastly, finalize your list. Remove the items that you think are redundant. You can also start trimming down your list by cutting down the ones at the bottom of the rankings — those are the ones you can compromise with or learn how to live with.
Focus on the ones at the top of your list. Know them by heart and decide that these are the things that you will not accept to have in your next employment.
Center your attention on those items and always keep them in your mind when looking for new opportunities or networking. Remember that these are the things that may rob you of fulfillment in your career.
5 Important Things to Remember Before You Create a “Do Not Want” List
1. Get to Know Yourself
An effective “Do Not Want” list is a reflection of yourself and your self-worth. You cannot make an effective list if you do not know yourself. So you must know yourself well when writing this list. Know what makes you angry, what makes you unhappy, and what agitates you.
Know what you can and cannot sacrifice to get the things you want, especially in your career. Know what skills you bring to the table and your value as an employee to stand firm when you say to yourself that these are the things I do not want in a job.
Having a firm grip on your identity as a professional is very important in knowing what you do not want in your life.
When you go on a job search, you aim to make your life better and improve your career path. At the beginning of a job search journey, people always paint a rosy picture of what good things will happen to them when they get the job they want. This may blur out the bad things that are lurking out there.
So in creating your “Do Not Want” list, take time to visualize your daily life in the office. Think of going to your work and what things will agitate or make you unhappy along the way.
Imagine going to the company, actually sitting on the desk of the position you are applying for, and being around the people that work for the company. Be open to the things that may make you unhappy and write them down on your list.
3. Know That Your Feelings Are Valid
Making a “Do Not Want” list may be daunting at first. When your list starts to pile up with items, you may question yourself and start making compromises. While it is not bad to make sacrifices for your job, knowing that having things you do not want in a career is a normal and valid feeling. Everyone has a different set of values, beliefs, and experiences that shape who they are personally and professionally.
So if your gut tells you that you do not want a particular feature or aspect of future employment, believe yourself and reassure yourself that these feelings are valid. Some people can tolerate a long commute. Some cannot. Some people have very flexible schedules, some not so. Some people are good at separating company values from their values. Some are not.
People are different. Stand up for what you believe is the best fit for you, and be assured that you feel worthy and valid.
4. Consider Every Aspect of Your Job
Always remember to cover all bases when making your “Do Not Want” list. Take your time to think and visualize the things that will not make you happy in a job.
Use the list provided above to think about every aspect of your profession. You can also think about your previous job experiences or life experiences. Think about the times that you were uncomfortable or mad or unpleasant in life.
Look for the root of this feeling and try to apply this in your profession. Will you potentially encounter these negative feelings in your future job? And if so, can this be avoided? Look for other jobs that will minimize experiencing feelings that will agitate these.
5. Be Specific
When it comes to listing what you do not want in a career, you have to put in even the minor details of what you think is not fit for you.
For example, if you do not want a company whose values are not aligned with yours, you have to list down what specific values are these and which particular practices you are not comfortable dealing with.
Being specific will help you keep on track with looking for a career that is right for you. It will also force you to think of what you don’t want, why you don’t want them, and how you can avoid them instead of generic statements that provide less help and direction.
Knowing what you do not want in your career is crucial to your success and fulfillment in professional life.
Knowing what you want and what you do not want in a job balance your job hunt and will put you in a proper frame of mind to look for a position that best suits your needs. It boosts your self worth and validates your feelings. Spending time and paying attention to the things you do not want in a job will lead you closer to your dream career path.