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Finding the Perfect Fitting Job

Fit. Fit is everything, and everything feels better when it…well, fits!

What happens when you find yourself in a position that simply doesn’t fit? And I’m not referring to the early months (i.e., the learning curve) or even an especially demanding time. What I’m considering here is a time-tested, thoughtfully examined, nagging, grating, perhaps even terrifying conclusion: “This job is not the right fit for me.”

Your present discomfort can provide you with the insight to find the right fit in the future. So ask yourself, is this ill-fitting position:

Too big? Are you swimming around in “other duties as assigned,” or maybe you just feel in over your head? Either way, you’ve lost sight of the horizon entirely?

  1. Write a job description for your current position. Can you define what is expected of you?
  2. Revisit the official description of this job—the one that you applied for. Would you recognize it as your own?

Too small? Are you feeling restricted or limited? Things might be a little snug if:

  1. The aspects of your job you were initially most excited about are rarely part of your day-to-day duties.
  2. Do you have a ladder to climb, or a path to follow? Even if there is not much to reach for right now, what is the eventual growth potential? Is there any?

Both, in every shape and form? Uncomfortable and unflattering all the time? Why? Start by isolating the areas of discomfort (bigness and smallness) and create a composite snapshot of your professional get-up.

To take this analogy to the next level, here are two more scenarios to think about to help you pinpoint the mismatch between you and your job:

This is just doing nothing for me. In our last blog post, YNPN board member Lauren Van Schepen provided excellent strategies for connecting your less-than-glamorous tasks to the bigger picture. However, what I’m talking about is having a job you can do and do well, but it (not you) falls short when it comes to the opportunity to maximize your assets. Fits fine. Just kind of “meh.”

It fits and I like it, but I can’t wear it in this weather.Most of the examples of fit described above are completely focused on misalignment between your skills/passions and your job responsibilities, but there is another possibility: you fit the job, the job fits you, but the organizational culture, “the climate,” does not. On an unexpectedly cold day during your otherwise awesome vacation, you could just run into Target and buy a hoodie. Sadly, our work environments are not always as easy to handle, regardless of how much you enjoy your job.

It doesn’t fit, and I know why: Now what?

The fit is decidedly…off, but it doesn’t mean that hope is lost or that your next job hunt begins—just yet.

“Do you have this in another size?” If you think there may be the potential to refocus some of your responsibilities, consider discussing your concerns to your supervisor: Clarity about your role and his or her expectations could help bring this position back down to size and may be an avenue worth pursuing. Similarly, discussing the ways in which you feel you’ve outgrown your current job and expressing an interest in stepping-up (or out) may be welcomed and answered with special assignments or additional responsibilities.

However, sometimes “fit” is beyond alteration—yours or theirs—in which case, change may be your best (and only) option. Allow the insight you gained from this experience to help inform questions to prospective employers during the interview process. Sizing up the next position may help you to avoid this statement in the future: “It looked better on the hanger.”

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