Finding the perfect fit
What's better than finding a perfect fit? And I don't mean shoes.
It's probably just as, if not more, important for a job to fit you as it is for you to fit the job.
What I mean is, you don't want to jump into a new job without thinking about it first, even if you haven't worked in awhile and things are getting tight financially. Make sure you're comfortable with the new work environment and the nature of the job before you accept an offer.
I know a little bit about this. I've interviewed at places that sounded great on paper and online, but once I got there, I immediately had second thoughts. I've also turned down job offers because something just didn't sit well with me. Obviously, it's important to like what you do, and something about these places just made me a little uneasy.
Sometimes you know right away. A few years ago I had an interview for a nonprofit. The office building was a little shabby, and the office I was going to was even worse. When the director finally came out to meet me, she wasn't wearing any shoes. "We're pretty casual around here," she said. We talked for a few minutes and she lit up a cigarette as she listened to me talk about my experience and why I wanted to work for them (although by this time I wasn't too sure if I did).
Most people would at least ask if the other person minded if they lit up, but this woman didn't. As part of my interview I had to take a typing test. Another staff member showed me to a room that looked like a storage closet, and the computer I had to use looked like one of the first ones ever made. I did my best, mostly because I didn't have any other job leads at the time and it's just in my nature to give it my best effort. But I didn't think it was a good sign when I couldn't wait to get out of there. The whole place made me uneasy. I was actually glad when they never called to offer me the job. I found out later that there were some shady dealings going on, so I actually consider myself lucky that they never called me.
I had another experience a few years later, this time with another nonprofit. The job seemed perfect for me, and I thought I'd be good at it. But the more I learned about the organization, the more I had second thoughts. I didn't think I'd be a good fit for their environment, and vice versa. It sounded like my personal beliefs and the philosophy of the organization might clash. This would not be a good thing for the nature of the job. Again, I just didn't get a good feeling from the place. Though they offered me the job, I declined, and I was never sorry I did.
Now, I'm certainly not saying I've turned down job offers just for the sake of turning down job offers. I admit that I'm selective, but I don't want to be miserable every day, either. If someone is going to work somewhere, I think it's important to feel comfortable in the place.
So there are some other things to think about if an employer calls for an interview, or makes an offer: Is this a place you'll want to come to everyday? Does the staff seem friendly and helpful (since it takes a few weeks to get used to a new job)? Do you like the company's philosophy and the work environment? Does the work sound interesting and something you're capable of doing? Are there opportunities to move up or learn new skills? Plenty of lucky folks have taken a new opportunity and stayed there for years.
The place just fit them like a great pair of shoes.