How to Love Your Job
By Moe Carrick and Cammie Dunaway
• First book to address work fit from the employee’s perspective rather than the organization’s perspective
• A how-to book offering useful tools and exercises to help you assess your work fit
• Based on unique primary research and real-world examples drawn from firsthand interviews
How can you discover a job that really matches your needs? A job that provides meaning to your life? Fit Matters shows you how – it’s a practical guide for you at any career stage to help you find the job you’ll love.
Fit Matters is both thought-provoking and practical, with tools and exercises designed to help you evaluate the fit between your needs and the culture of your current or prospective employer, assess and articulate what you really need to thrive at work, and develop options if you find yourself in a company or job where you are misfit.
You will learn that self-knowledge, combined with an understanding of six elements of work fit, will help you make career decisions that will lead to better job satisfaction and improved performance – a win-win for both you and your employer. You’ll learn:
- Why work fit matters to them and their organizations
- How to master the six essential elements of fit
- How to assess themselves to better understand their work needs
- How to recognize whether their fit is as good as it should be
- How to evaluate their options, including flexing to fit or finding new work
Fit Matters is the perfect complement to some of the bestselling titles offering career advice – it’s the only book to address the importance of “fit” between employees and organizations. No other book provides you with a systematic, practical framework to assess and improve your happiness at work.
About the Authors
Moe Carrick is Principal and Founder of Moementum, Inc., a Certified BCorp and consulting firm dedicated to the vision of creating a world that works for everyone, using business as a force for good. Her diverse client portfolio includes Prudential Financial, REI, Nike, The Nature Conservancy, TechSoft3D, Hydroflask, Nintendo of America, and others. Moe is a Certified Coach, Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources, Certified DiSC Practitioner, Certified Benchmarks Facilitator with the Center for Creative Leadership, and Certified Daring Way Facilitator. She is a frequent contributor to the Work Smart Blog and Conscious Company and Success magazines. Moe has presented on a variety of topics at numerous organizations including South by Southwest (SXSW), Women’s Center for Leadership, University of Michigan, TEDx San Juan Island and TEDxPeachtreeCircle, American Public Works Association, Northwest Human Resource Management Association, and others. She earned a BA from the University of New Hampshire and an MS in Organizational Management from Antioch University.
Cammie Dunaway is a Global Chief Marketing Officer, Brand Consultant, and Public Board member. She most recently served as U.S. President and Global Chief Marketing Officer of KidZania. Previously she served as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Nintendo and as Chief Marketing Officer at Yahoo! after having spent more than a decade in various leadership positions with Frito Lay, where she was named one of the 100 Top Marketers by Advertising Age. Cammie sits on the Board of Directors for Nordstrom Bank, Red Robin, and Marketo. A frequent presenter, she has spoken at The Conference Board’s Summit on Corporate Brand and Reputation, TEDxHarkerSchool, South by Southwest (SXSW), and Venture Beats Growth Conference, as well as for companies such as General Mills, LinkedIn, PayPal, and Unilever. She earned a BA from the University of Richmond and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Table of Contents
PART I: WHAT FIT MEANS
Chapter 1: Understanding Fit
Chapter 2: Recognizing Misfit
PART II: THE SIX ELEMENTS OF FIT
Chapter 3: Meaning Fit
Chapter 4: Job Fit
Chapter 5: Culture Fit
Chapter 6: Relationship Fit
Chapter 7: Lifestyle Fit
Chapter 8: Financial Fit
PART III: WHY FIT MATTERS
Chapter 9: The Changing World of Work
Chapter 10: How Fit Impacts People
Chapter 11: How Fit Impacts Organizations
PART IV: FINDING YOUR FIT
Chapter 12: Knowing Yourself and What You Want
Chapter 13: Calculating the Elements and Weighing Trade-Offs
PART V: DEALING WITH MISFIT
Chapter 14: Regaining Your Confidence
Chapter 15: Flexing to Fit Where You Are
Chapter 16: Deciding It’s Time to Leave and Going Gracefully
Chapter 17: Evaluating New Opportunities
Conclusion: The Future of Fit
1: Analyze Your Employability Skills
2: Holland’s Six Occupation Types
3: Assessment Tool Comparison Chart
4: Work Relationships Matrix
5: Is It Time to Leave? Assessment
6: Culture Fit Questions to Ask
About the Authors
FROM CHAPTER 2: Recognizing Misfit
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
— Lao Tzu
For some of us, there’s a sudden, lightning-bolt moment when we realize that where we work is not aligned with who we are. For others, it takes longer to discover that it’s not the right workplace. In either case, a moment comes when we realize that we just don’t fit at our workplace anymore.
The dictionary describes a misfit as a person whose behavior or attitude sets them apart from others in an uncomfortably conspicuous way. In our experience, although being misfit at work may not always be conspicuous, it’s always uncomfortable.
Tammy has experienced misfit firsthand. “During the interview process, I expressed my need and desire for flexibility since it was something I had at my current job. I also expressed my desired job role and how I felt I could contribute the most. I took the job, and within two weeks I knew it wasn’t a fit. The culture was one of coworkers ‘keeping score’ – what time did someone come in/leave, how long did they take for lunch (remember that flexibility thing?). Didn’t matter if work was getting done. The role was completely different than what was explained to me. I wasn’t doing what I thought I’d be doing, and the work was boring, not challenging, and any opportunities I expressed to help the company in its efforts were shot down.
“I felt that my boss was dishonest with me in describing how the company operated. I now had a sour taste in my mouth because I left a job I loved for this one. I quit after four months – a great decision. During the six months that it took to find a new job I did some consulting work to help me get by. It was worth the wait. My current job is one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.”
Tammy realized quickly that her new job was obviously a misfit. Sometimes, though, discomfort stemming from misfit comes with a more gradual realization that things just aren’t working. Over time you may feel less enthusiastic about work, your performance reviews aren’t as strong, your mind drifts during meetings, and you find yourself being short with colleagues. Perhaps you entered a new stage of life, such as becoming a parent, which caused a shift in your values. Or perhaps you’d mastered the basics of your job and craved new challenges.
Sometimes it’s not you but the organization changing in ways that alter the work fit. It might happen when a boss leaves and is replaced by someone you see as incompetent or difficult to get along with. The company might be acquired by an organization with a vastly different culture, which happened to Jason: “I knew when we got bought out things would change. At first it seemed the acquiring company would preserve our culture and way of doing things, but as shared services began to occur and efficiencies became critical, the life got sucked out of our small company. I knew it was not going to be the right place for me for long.”
Sometimes fit can be dramatically affected by a downturn in the business cycle. Perhaps a new senior leadership team makes major changes that affect the way employees interact and get work done. The circumstances can vary, but the outcome leaves you feeling like a foreigner in a place you used to enjoy.
This was the case for Pam. When she was in her early twenties she took a temporary job at a high-tech company, thinking that she would be there for a year and then return to grad school. She ended up staying for sixteen years and thriving for the first fourteen.
“What made me fall in love with the company was that I could speak up and voice my opinion and that if I had good ideas, management was all ears,” Pam says. “My initial role was an entry-level position focused on tracking global inventory – basically I had a spreadsheet and a telephone. I immediately became interested in why certain policies existed and how we could do things better, and I started making suggestions. Pretty soon I found myself in meetings with vice presidents. I felt like my opinions mattered, and the supportive environment gave me the confidence to tackle bigger and bigger challenges. The company culture was focused on the customer and on getting things done. That really jelled with who I am and how I like to work.”
Pam never left the company for grad school. For fourteen years she found herself getting promoted almost every year to positions of ever-expanding responsibility. Then things began to change. A more challenging business climate led to the internal environment becoming more political. Sharp elbows were thrown as execs jockeyed for position and power. A senior leader whom Pam admired was passed over for a major job and left the company. The remaining senior leaders were highly political and the culture of speaking up and championing new ideas disappeared. “Gradually more and more of the people I enjoyed working with left. It got so that I couldn’t stand going into the office. I just couldn’t muster the energy to give a damn about my work. And on top of that, I felt guilty about my feelings and a little disloyal to the company I had loved for so many years.”
Pam realized that she needed to make a move so that she could continue to thrive and do her best work. Her job search lasted six months and led to a position with a young, fast-growing company where she again experienced the joy of knowing that her opinion mattered.
“The energy at my new company is palpable and contagious. People are smart, getting things done, and having fun. I feel like myself again.”
How Bad Is It?
Let’s be crystal clear: We all have bad days – even bad weeks – when we don’t feel satisfied in our jobs. Every job in every company brings with it hard times, days when getting out of bed is a laborious chore, or times when team dynamics make it such that we dread seeing our colleagues in the halls or at the lunch table. Every supervisor can be the poster child for a bad boss on any given day, and every organization goes through lifecycles of progress and accomplishment as well as darkness and struggle.
One bad day or even a bad week doesn’t necessarily mean that you and your job are suddenly incompatible. When you’re misfit at work, discomfort spreads over months on end, and going to work seems like an insurmountable chore day after day. There’s a difference between a bad spell and a serious case of your company no longer being the place for you. Our friend Katt describes it like this: “Leaving a company is never an easy decision, but when you wake up morning after morning hating your job, it’s time for a change.”
The signs of misfit can vary, but here are how several friends, clients, and survey respondents describe their symptoms:
- You dread going to work. When you find that getting up is a chore and that you’re living for the weekend, things aren’t working. The root problem may stem from any number of factors, but the need for change is clearly being signaled.
- You’re getting sick more often. Our bodies frequently tell us we have a problem even before our minds acknowledge it. When people suffer from deep misfit, they often struggle with stress-related physical symptoms such as headaches, colds, heart palpitations, and general body aches and pains.
- You have trouble sleeping. Insomnia has many causes, but if your inability to get a good night’s sleep kicked in right when you started managing a more intense or difficult work situation, it’s likely related. Stress-induced insomnia occurs when anxiety takes its toll on you so intensely that it robs you of your ability to sleep.
- You feel bored and underutilized. If you find yourself watching the clock or spending more time on social media or other online channels during work hours, chances are you need more challenges or opportunities to contribute more of your skills.
- You don’t like your boss and try to avoid them. A poor relationship with your boss is one of the most common causes of misfit. This also probably means that you’re getting little in the way of the positive coaching or feedback that we all need to thrive.
- You can’t think of anyone at work that you enjoy spending time with. Work colleagues don’t need to be best friends in order for you to be successful, but if you feel like you don’t like anyone in your organization, chances are you need to move on.
- You are consistently getting poor performance reviews. When you’re in the right job, you’re able to do your best work. This doesn’t mean that you won’t make mistakes and face occasional failures, but it does mean that you should feel successful and supported.
- You don’t feel valued. Feeling like your work matters is one of your most basic needs.
- You find yourself complaining a lot. If you catch yourself constantly complaining about work to your family, or even to another colleague, something needs to be addressed.
ASK YOURSELF . . .
- Which of the nine signs of misfit ring true for me, if any?
- How would I rate their intensity (1=low, 9=high)?
- What might be the implications for my happiness, health, and well-being at work and home?
- How might misfit be impacting my performance at work?
- Have I felt misfit before? How does this feel the same or different?
So What Now?
Once you acknowledge that you may be a misfit at work, the next step is to diagnose the source of the misalignment. While unhappiness can make it seem like everything about your job sucks, the reality is usually more complex and nuanced. Job content and corporate culture might be okay, but a new boss might be making you miserable. You may be unhappy with growth opportunities, but glad that your job allows the flexibility to work from home. By examining the six elements of work fit in Part II of this book, you’ll be able to determine what specific elements of work fit aren’t working for you and therefore what needs to change.
Moving forward in achieving great work fit also means getting a clear understanding of your needs and desires and having a process for understanding the tradeoffs between the elements. Part III goes into detail about why fit matters. Part IV provides useful tools and exercises for self-reflection and decision making. And, finally, Part V provides tips to help you make the best of the situation that you’re in when changing jobs isn’t possible (at least not at the moment), or while you explore your options for moving to a different organization.
Everyone can and should find a job where they’ll thrive rather than survive. Despite the fear and tension that admitting to misfit can bring and that recognizing that the journey to reach a better work fit might be a long one, we believe that the effort is worth it. Consider the words of Greg: “Deciding that this job was not in my long-term best interests was painful, stressful, and depressing. But looking back from the other side, it was wonderfully invigorating, spiritually fulfilling, and full of warm satisfaction.”
Now is the time for you to start looking at the specific elements that create great work fit so that you can love your job!
Praise for Fit Matters
“Poor fit with a job can be devastating for employee and employer alike – leading to lack of engagement, lousy performance, even job loss. Yet fit is often overlooked when it comes to making employment decisions. Fortunately, Carrick and Dunaway are here with solutions to help people and organizations find alignment and even joy in the workplace.”
— Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive and To Sell Is Human
“You can be happy, even joyous, in your job if it’s the right fit. By showing you how to tap in to your core professional and personal values, Fit Matters is your can’t-miss guide to great career satisfaction!”
— Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times bestselling author of Triggers
“Few decisions in life are more important that finding a great fit for your professional life. It should be no surprise that the most effective leaders I find are the ones who truly love what they do. Your team, your customers and even your family will know when you find a great match and are passionate about your work. Why wait? This timely book offers wonderful advice on how to thrive at work. A must read!”
— Greg Welch, Sr. Partner at the executive search firm Spencer Stuart
“We should all love our jobs – and what Carrick and Dunaway prove is that we all can. This isn’t a soft option – it means everyone has to bring their A game to work every day. But when they do, work fulfills its great ambition: the fulfillment of human life.”
— Margaret Heffernan, author of Beyond Measure and A Bigger Prize