Avoid a Job Mismatch

This article was originally published here
April 30, 2015
By Angela Rose for BioSpace.com

What does it take to make you happy at work?

While a break room full of free snacks and games might be nice—and kitten stress-relief sessions couldn’t hurt—most of us tend to focus on money when we’re looking for a new job. We’ll sell our souls—so to speak— to the highest bidder, regardless of whether the environment in which we’ll be plying our trade as a project manager, statistical programmer or research associate really suits us or not. This is a big mistake.

If we don’t fit into an employer’s culture, all the money in the world won’t make us happy. We’ll quickly find ourselves disengaged from our job, longing for meaningful and fulfilling work even as we dry our eyes with a fat paycheck. Eventually, we’ll have to start the job search all over again. In fact, according to a recent survey by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service, 66 percent of human resource managers reported that their organizations had lost employees due to poor cultural fit.

Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to remedy this situation and avoid a job—and culture—mismatch. Before you accept your next biotech or pharma position, ask yourself the following essential questions:

1. What values must a company have to make me happy?
If giving back to the community is important to you, you might be happiest at a biopharma organization that is committed to philanthropy, regularly organizing companywide volunteer opportunities. If you need to feel appreciated in order to enjoy your job, you might want to choose a company that is committed to recognizing its employees. If you long to be a part of something innovative, you might look for an employer who emphasizes new product development. You can usually learn a lot about an employer’s values on the company website. Conduct this research pre-interview for best results.

2. What work environment must a company provide to make me happy?
If you prefer to work independently, but the quality engineer job you’re considering will require you to work on a team, you’re looking at a potential mismatch. If you thrive in highly structured departments, but an employer is offering you a diagnostic technician job within a less formal environment, you’re looking at a potential mismatch. Going to work for a large organization when you prefer the culture of small ones, or a loud manufacturing floor when you’d do best in a quiet office are other examples of mismatch. An interview is the perfect time to enquire about the work environment. Ask the right questions and you’ll learn a lot about the company culture.

3. What perks do I need to be happy?
Culture often influences the benefits biotech and pharma companies offer their employees. If it’s important to them that professionals have work-life balance, the package may include a flexible schedule (such as a four-day workweek), errand-running services, remote work options, or onsite childcare. If the organization has built a culture based on nurturing the careers of its workers, the package may include tuition reimbursement, continuing education and mentoring opportunities. Decide what perks are important to you—from vacation time to dog walking—and make sure they are offered by the employer you choose.

4. What types of coworkers do I need to be happy?!
While it’s almost impossible to love all of your coworkers (some of them are bound to be irritating), the more of them you like (and the better you like them), the happier you are likely to be at work. Before you accept any job offer, ask for the opportunity to meet and interact with a few of your future coworkers. If you enjoy socializing with colleagues inside and outside the office, you’ll want to choose a job where you’ll work with likeminded professionals. If you prefer to stick to yourself, a position around others with similar preferences may be a better match.

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