If you've ever bought a house, condo or townhouse, how much time did you actually spend there? If you live in a tight housing market, sometimes homes are sold just one day after going on the market. If that's the case, maybe you saw it once for an hour. For those with more time, maybe it was a couple visits for two or three hours in total. It may have cost $250,000, or $1.5 million. Either way, it's a lot of money.
Did you go over at different times? Did you know that the neighbor's sprinklers go off at 2 am in the summer? Did you know the heater makes a weird noise when it gets below freezing? Did you know the neighbor's kids drive on your lawn? Did you go by in the early morning to see where the sun hits the kitchen window? Did you sit on the patio at 6 pm to know what it's like when you'd be barbecuing? Did you take a shower there? Did you sit in the living room and hear the doorbell ring? For hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest, the amount of things we don't do in due diligence is remarkable.
Think about what companies or private equity firms do when they buy a company. Due diligence. CPA audits. Claw backs for false earning reports. Interviews with clients and key employees. Yet, when purchasing a home, people look at it for 30 minutes and make an offer. Why is that? An even bigger "purchase," although one that is easier to get out of if you choose to, is taking a new job.
Let's say a manager who's interviewing with a company spends four hours at the company interviewing with six people. To some, that's short and for others that's a long time. But, think of it this way. Say they were a six-figure candidate, $100,000 for the sake of easy math, and they were 30 years old. That leaves 35 more years of work. If the candidate doesn't grow and earn a higher salary, their minimum earnings are $3.5 million, not including 401k match and any other potential dollars. Four hours for $3.5 million. Doesn't seem like a lot of time.
Marriage in the United States has a 50 percent divorce rate and people usually wait six to 18 months after proposing before signing the "contract." There isn't six to 18 months of preparing before you start the job. You just start.
It's about time people really start to ask themselves two questions before accepting a position: 1) What will make you LOVE your job? 2) What do you want to accomplish in your career?
If you answer the first question with great perks and 40 hours a week, you're in trouble. Most likely you will never LOVE your job. You may love life outside of work more because you won't be working, but you most likely won't be in love with what you do. Try these on for size:
- Working for a challenging (but understanding) boss
- Being compensated for my results
- Being trained ongoing to learn new skills
- Being part of a team were my contribution matters, and I collaborate with others
- Working for a company and manager who show their appreciation
- The opportunity to take on more responsibility
- The chance to become a subject matter expert
The second one is a bit harder because what you want to accomplish when you are looking for a job, and what you want to accomplish one, three or five years later may be different. But, here's a shot:
- I want to take on a huge project
- I want to deliver results based on an understood goal(s)
- I want to be get certified in my area as an "expert"
- I want to get promoted within three years
- I want to earn a raise within 12 months
- I want to lead a team on a project
I want to create a concept that adds value to my unit/division and company that wasn't a standard operating procedure before
The problem with the two questions and the ideas that follow is once you answer them...you have to deliver. That's hard work. Very rarely does someone work hard for an extended period of time and are unhappy with the results. If you measure a diet in the first month, it's a recipe for disaster. If you only focus on the first grade after starting to study hard, you're insane. If you look to lower your golf score after only two lessons, you're fooling yourself. Results take time, and that's what separates the happy, successful people from the rest. The ones that fight through the valley to get to the peak.
Once you start to ask yourself the hard questions and give real answers, you can unlock your passion. If you're going to make the biggest investment or purchase of your lifetime, you might as well give it your all.