I still remember the day I told my parents I was going to go sell mattresses.
It was a Saturday afternoon in 2001, about a month before I was set to grace the stage of my college campus’ auditorium and claim the diploma I had spent four years working so hard to achieve. I’m sure that you can imagine my parent’s response to this bold statement… “You are doing WHAT?” I’m pretty certain at first they didn’t believe me, which was then followed by a semi-heated discussion, which probably included some of the typical parental phrases… “You just spent 4 years getting your degree and you’re going to throw it away” or “Don’t get mad at me when I say ‘I told you so’!” To top it all off, not only was I going to go sell mattresses, but I was going to move over 2,000 miles away from home to do so.
So, you may ask, what would possess someone to do this?
I can tell you it certainly wasn’t for the love of mattress sales. Instead, what truly drew me in was seeing this incredible group of people who had such passion for what I would have anticipated would be such a mundane job. Through my over 7 years with my company, I realized it’s really not what you do… it’s how you do it and who you do it with.
As you go through your career search, you will probably be drawn to big name organizations or positions that may land you a prestigious title. However, I believe that if you want to end up in a position you love with a company you will love, here are a few things to look for:
Culture: What is the culture of the company like?
How do the employees interact?
Do they have an open door policy?
Do they welcome ideas from internal employees?
Vision, Values & Mission: Do they have a specific vision?
What are they doing to actually live out their values?
Is everything they do centered around the mission of their organization?
People: What kind of people work for the organization?
Are they people who will make you a better person and challenge you to grow?
Are they people that you will genuinely enjoy being around?
Where you go to work is obviously a very important decision. You will most likely spend more time at work than you will at home… so choose wisely and make sure that you are selecting a career path & company for the right reasons. This mattress extraordinaire sure did!