Know What You Don’t Want On-the-Job
Defining Past Career Dissatisfactions to Avoid Future Misery

You’ve probably heard the famous Albert Einstein quote “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  This adage is particularly applicable to the world of work.

Many people get stuck in a job just because it’s “what they’ve always done.”  Furthermore, too many individuals get trapped in a career rut by settling for what happens to be offered to them.  The professionals who hire me want to change this negative pattern.  They want to proactively manage their career instead of taking what’s given.  One of the key steps in this process is getting clear on what you don’t want.


Power Activity:  Know What You
Don’t Want

To make sure you don’t end up in yet another job that is a bad fit, you must define what you don’t want at work.  To assist you in this process, I’ve developed three sets of questions that will help you avoid what you don’t want in your career.

The three categories of questions are:

  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Workplace Culture
  • Individual Work Style

First, I share a few sample questions for each category.  Then I provide some sample responses for each category.  After that, I provide a template for you to write in your own answers to these “know what you don’t want in your career” questions.


Roles and Responsibilities Questions

  • What responsibilities do I not enjoy in my current position?
  • What tasks and duties did I dislike in past jobs?
  • What roles do I not want to get stuck with again?

 

Workplace Culture Questions

  • What don’t I enjoy about the culture of my current workplace?
  • What didn’t I like about the culture of past places of employment?
  • In what way(s) would I like the culture to be different at my next job?  For example, am I looking for a culture that is:
    • Smaller or larger than my current organization?
    • Less bureaucratic than my current company?
    • Has a more innovative spirit?
    • Has more structure?

 

Individual Work Style Questions

  • How does my current job not support my individual work style?  For example:
    • Would I like to be involved in more team projects?
    • Or would I rather have more independent work assignments?
    • Would I like more time for creative thought and strategic visioning?
    • Do I want more variety or less multi-tasking?


Sample Responses

In order for you to get a better idea of how to answer these questions for yourself, here are a few sample responses.  These are given as examples only and may or may not apply to your current situation.  

 

Roles and Responsibilities Sample Responses

  • What responsibilities do I not enjoy in my current position?
    • Event planning
    • Fundraising
    • Website maintenance and design 

 

  • What tasks and duties did I dislike in past jobs?
    • Dealing with an unengaged Board of Directors
    • Completing detailed monthly reports
    • Performing human resources functions 

 

  • What roles do I not want to get stuck with again?
    • Attending work-related networking events in the evenings
    • Hiring and supervising interns
    • Meeting planning

 

Workplace Culture Sample Responses

  • What don’t I enjoy about the culture of my current workplace?
    • Competitive environment
    • Unfriendly colleagues
    • Long work hours  

 

  • What didn’t I like about the culture at past places of employment?
    • Stuffy management and colleagues
    • Conservative and formal environment
    • Very little emphasis on training or professional development 

 

  • In what way(s) would I like the culture to be different at my next job?
    • Flat organizational culture rather than a hierarchical structure
    • Less formal work environment where people aren’t afraid to let their hair down
    • I would like to work with a group of colleagues who are committed to collaboration to reach common goals 

 

Individual Work Style Sample Responses

  • How does my current job not support my individual work style?  For example:
    • Would I like to be involved in more team projects?
    • Or would I rather have more independent work assignments?
    • Would I like more time for creative thought and strategic visioning?
    • Do I want more variety or less multi-tasking?
      • My current workplace is too slow-paced for my taste
      • There are not enough group projects
      • There is no team spirit

 

Now It’s Your Turn!

To complete this power activity, use the blank template below. 

If you need help, feel free to schedule a one-on-one coaching session with me.  I will help you identify the specific things you don’t want in your career so you can be sure to avoid them in the future. 

Click here to schedule a private coaching session.   

 

Your Template:  Know What You Don’t Want

 

Roles and Responsibilities Questions

  • What responsibilities do I not enjoy in my current position?

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________ 

 

 

  • What tasks and duties did I dislike in past jobs?

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________ 

 

 

  • What roles do I not want to get stuck with again?

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________ 

 

 

Workplace Culture Questions

 

  • What don’t I enjoy about the culture of my current workplace?

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________ 

 

 

  • What didn’t I like about the culture at past places of employment?

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________ 

 

 

  • In what way(s) would I like the culture to be different at my next job? 

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________

 

 

    • _____________________________________________________ 

 

 

Individual Work Style Questions

  • How does my current job not support my individual work style?  For example:
    • Would I like to be involved in more team projects?
    • Or would I rather have more independent work assignments?
    • Would I like more time for creative thought and strategic visioning?
    • Do I want more variety or less multi-tasking?

 

      • _____________________________________________________

 

 

 

      • _____________________________________________________

 

 

 

      • _____________________________________________________

 

 

Excellent work!  Knowing what you don’t want helps illuminate what you do want in your career both now and in the future. 

If you feel you’d like assistance with knowing what you don’t want on-the-job, I invite you to schedule a one-on-one coaching session with me. 

Click here to schedule your personal coaching session.

Now, let’s move on to your Career Success Guide to Getting Clear on the Type of Organization You Want to Work For

 

 

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