If you’re considering a job change you’ve no doubt thought through a laundry list of desires you believe will make you happy. And when offered multiple roles you may have made a pros and cons lists to decide.
But have you ever landed what seemed like a great role on paper just to be disappointed and back at the job hunt shortly after?
Finding a role that will provide you with the most joy and long-term satisfaction may require a little less focus on checking off want-list items and a little more focus on checking in with your gut.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, people need to learn to listen to and access their intuition to make better career decisions. When faced with a choice to leave Compaq to join Apple, he famously recounts the story of ignoring his list of pros and cons and the advice of many he trusted in favour of his inner voice.
Cook isn’t the only one. Some of the world’s most successful business leaders have touted the benefits of using intuition. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Oprah and Former Westpac CEO Gail Kelly have encouraged people to follow their feelings over intellect to get the best results.
So what exactly is intuition and how do we access it?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, intuition is “an ability to understand or know something without needing to think about it or use reason to discover it.”
Some people are naturally attuned to their intuition – they easily experience what feels right and use their gut to guide their decisions. But if you’re not one of them, don’t fret.
Just as you can prepare for an interview you can sharpen your ability to access your intuition.
Sharyn Reesby is a Sydney-based business coach who works with people in career transition. She advises clients to use their imagination and ask questions that open new possibilities to get them in touch with their intuition and true joy.
“Imagination is a doorway to intuition. Ask yourself the right questions about the type of role you’d like. What time do I want to start working? What sort of people do I want to work with? What businesses feel good?” she says. “Try on companies and industries like you’re trying on a suit. You’ve absorbed a lot of information that you’ve stored on an unconscious level and will get a sense of if they’re the right fit.”
Leonie Knight is Ignite’s General Manager of Queensland and has helped place thousands of people in great roles. She recommends candidates listen to their body and emotions to tune into intuition during the interview process.
“The drive and desire to excel and achieve can sometimes override intuition so you need to pay attention,” she says. “Your body and emotions don’t lie. If your mind is telling you a role is the right fit but you feel drained during the interviews and aren’t sure if you’re excited about starting with the company, your intuition is telling you it’s not.”
As part of the process, Reesby also recommends getting clear on what you want to express and how you want to express it in your role.
“People aren’t looking at their jobs as an art form but your work is your art. You’ll have joy when you can express your art form in your way,” she says. “Write down 5 things you want to express in your role.”
You know from past roles or educational environments what has worked for you and what hasn’t. For example, if you’ve worked in a rigid culture that focused on rules from the handbook over fluid processes, you may have identified that you’re looking for an unstructured environment that allows you to be creative.
Knight advises candidates to focus on fit during the very first interview.
“Being in a culture that allows you full self-expression will benefit your employer as much as it will benefit you. After all, everyone’s looking for long-term success, so be honest about your style and what you need to thrive right off the bat,” she says. “And if possible, talk with others in the company to find out if the organisation’s approach feels right and will allow you to be yourself.”
When you’re offered a role you think is a match, Reesby says there’s one simple question you can ask yourself to determine if you’re in your head or heart: “Is this decision based on faith or fear?”
Fear will drive you to make decisions based on what you don’t want versus what you do want – it is anti-intuition. For example, if you’re going to accept a role that isn’t right because you’re afraid you can’t find one that will allow you full self-expression, you’re on the wrong track.
If you’re looking for a more joyful job, we’d love to help! Check out available roles through Ignite across Australia.