When I was 19 I had my first and only 9-5 job. Despite being in college I convinced this sales recruiter to hire me on during the summer on a 60k a year starting salary, earning myself as their youngest employee.
Each morning I would get up in my business dress and drive an hour in traffic each way, only to sit at my desk for eight hours amongst people that were at least ten years older than me. Needless to say I quit after two weeks and didn’t even see my first paycheck. You couldn’t have paid me enough to stay.
At the time I didn’t know I was making the #1 mistake that most Millennials today are making when entering the workforce.
It’s 2017, and millions of Millennials are embarking upon their first, second, or even third job. Job hopping has become the new normal, with the average worker switching jobs four times before age 32.
So what gives? Why are so many of us fed up with our jobs and unable to find the right fit?
One man who’s revolutionizing the way approach work and relate to our jobs may have the answer.
Meet Eric Termuende, the founder of DRYVER Group, a consultant company that facilitates team development and higher bottom lines. He’s also an international speaker and the author of the book Rethink Work, named one of the best personal finance and economic books of 2016 by Financial Post.
Termuende’s message is to “Rethink Work,” or to approach work like “it’s not something that you have to do, but something you get to do.”
According to Termuende, there’s more to work than a secure salary. In fact, our jobs are the third biggest determinant of our happiness. But with most of us seeking employment on the basis of a prestigious job title and a comfortable income, we’re making the #1 mistake in the book—we’re forgetting to select a job that will bring us lasting happiness.
“We need to be rethinking what it means to be working and enabling people to find employment based on fit, belonging, something bigger.” Termuende says. “Find the thing that puts a smile on your face as wide as possible.”
On the latest episode of the Unconventional Life Podcast, Termuende shares how you can avoid making the mistake of choosing a job for the wrong reasons and find a job that you’ll love for the long-run.
Define Success On Your Own Terms
“To be successful, society says you have to have a lot of money, a lot of material, a big title, and a lot of education,” Termuende says. “ I don’t think that’s not right, but I think your definition of success could be a lot different than mine. As we get into rethinking work, we have to get into redefining what it means to be successful for us.”
Create your own definition of success based on what’s important to you. Focus on the lifestyle and the day-to-day experience you want to have. If spending quality time with loved ones is important to you, you might apply for jobs with flexible hours and the freedom to take time off. If you value social connection and relationships, narrow your selection to jobs with a tight-knit company culture.
“If we can do a job that enables us to live the way we want to live, then I think we can all be successful,” Termuende says.
Speak With An Insider
You can only learn so much about your potential job through a job description. What’s often missing is the human element of what it’s actually like to work inside a given company.
To figure out if a job is really the right fit for you, meet with someone who is currently working in the job position you want. Have a 30 minute conversation with them and ask them key questions like, what’s the commute like? How often do you get to talk to your supervisor? How much free time do you have?
Your goal is to get a feel for the lived experience of the job. Beyond the job title and the salary, will your job provide you with enriching experiences and relationships that make showing up to work everyday feel like something you get to do rather than something you have to do?
In applying for jobs, the championing mentality is often to apply to dozens of jobs in bulk, altering as little as you can in a generic cover letter or resume. The problem with this approach is that it frames your job as something that chooses you rather than something you choose.
Termuende recommends being selective and only applying to jobs that meet a specific criteria defined by you. On a blank sheet of paper, write down two headers, one “must have,” and one “can’t have.” In the “must have” column, list qualities your job needs to have in order for you to feel fulfilled inside of it, like a diverse employee base. In the “can’t have” column, write down qualities your job can’t have, like work on Saturdays.
In being choosey, your job search will narrow, making it easier to find the best possible fit for you and avoid making compromises.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com