Environment Matters – What work setting suits you?

What’s your preferred work environment?

Sometimes, your work setting will be just as important to you as what you will be doing when you get there. Whether you are just beginning to explore career options, are in the midst of internship or job searching, or are thinking about changing jobs, taking inventory of the type of work environment that best suits you makes sense. There are a few different factors to keep in mind, such as the hours, physical space, culture, and dress – to name a few.

Hours – are you hoping to work full time, part time or flexible hours? Would you want “typical” 9-5 work hours, or would you prefer to work later in the day? Would you prefer to have a work schedule that is fairly set or one that shifts depending on seasons or workflow?

Physical space – would you like to work outdoors, or would an office be more to your liking? Do you prefer a work setting that is spacious or one that’s more cozy? Do you require working somewhere that is spotless and orderly, or is a little grime and mess just fine? Would the quiet of a library drive you mad, or would the noise of a night club be more problematic?

Culture – do you like the idea of a work place that values volunteerism? How do you feel about the expectation to publish regularly in scholarly journals? Would you prefer an organization known to be family-friendly? How about one known to support sustainability? Is a company that has been ranked among top LGBT employers important to you? Culture can sometimes be a difficult characteristic to capture. Sometimes, an organization’s culture is transient and shifts as staff turns over. Other times, organizations are very purposeful about the culture they develop for their employees.

Dress – would you prefer a work setting that allows casual dress or one that requires business formal attire? Would you be comfortable wearing protective gear? Does the thought of regularly buying new wardrobe items excite you, or is a uniform more up your alley?

Identifying the type of work environment that best suits your personality and preferences, (along with the type of people you would want to work with and determining the skills or special interests you’d want to incorporate into your work), can go a long way in ensuring your overall satisfaction with your choice of career.

The Getting to Know You series explores various aspects of self-assessment, an important, but often neglected step of career decision making.

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