Finding Opportunities that Fit Your Values
For the better part of this year, I have been looking for a new job and struggling to find a good match.
The problem is not the "skills". My background is on web and mobile development, so I am looking for a fullstack, frontend or backend development position. There are thousand of jobs matching those skills. But how do you optimize to search for a job matching your values?
I have to confess that I didn't even know what I wanted. So I put my head down and tried to define what are the criteria for the job I am seeking. This is what came out.
I want to work somewhere with a vision that motivates me and shares my values. Putting this in less abstract terms, I want to help solving a problem I care about and I don’t think is already solved or has a market saturated with solutions.
- Examples of suitable visions: privacy, education, open source.
- Examples of unsuitable visions: yet another task manager, consulting, analytics/marketing, blockchain.
Of course non of those is a deal breaker nor a sure bet, it depends a lot on the specifics. But overall those are good approximations.
I want to surround myself with talented and motivated individuals, because I want to continue learning and share my passion. I also want to nurture and teach others, but “If you’re the best in the room, you’re in the wrong room”.
I am also looking for a place where they share my work philosophy, which is greatly influenced by Basecamp. Quality > quantity. I don’t care that much about growth, I care about serving customers well and creating value. For obvious reasons I do care about profitability, but I don’t think it correlates with growth as most companies seem to be obsessed with.
I believe the environment where I can thrive is a small to medium organization. Reasons for this are based more in theory than in practice, but I think I won’t be able to make an impact in a big company if I am only a cog in the wheel.
My experience is also better suited, since my abilities span multiple areas and I enjoy interacting with other departments.
This is as much a restriction as it is a criterion. I live in Barcelona and I’m not willing to relocate permanently (I would for a training period). Focusing my efforts only in opportunities located in Barcelona would limit my options even more. That’s why I am looking for a remote opportunity.
After reading this, there is a variety of reactions you may have. One I hear often is thinking that my standards are too high. Maybe it's true, but hear me out.
We spend 8+ hours a day working. Considering 8 hours of sleep and other activities necessary for survival, working is the biggest chunk of time we spend in life. And time is without a doubt the most important thing you will spend. So I would argue it's one of the most important things to get right.
I am a big proponent of Stoicism, so I am not restless about my situation. I'll just continue striving to be the best I can be while enjoying what life's given me.
However, there is one thing I need to improve and that is networking. That sounds like a catch-all concept, but what I mean in particular is how I communicate my work and where I choose to spend my efforts. I have been contributing to Open Source for a while, but it's been mostly on my own projects. I will be more intentional with my work, and I'll expose myself to other communities and get outside of my bubble.
I hope my views on job seeking can inspire others. And of course, if you know of a company or an opportunity that can fit my values, let me know!