Someone recently asked me if I would work for a company if I didn’t believe in their products or services (to the point that I would consider them the best). It’s an interesting question because it reflects the trade offs many of us make when selecting jobs, and there is no one “right” point of view in that regard.
Should we all try to work for #1 in whatever space? There is nothing wrong with that, everyone wants to play on a winning team. But it’s not the only way to win. The team that won the World Series last year probably won’t win this year. Avis had it right, that #2 tries harder.
As I think back over the jobs I’ve held, I did most of them because they offered me the job. I needed work, I applied for positions, if they offered something at as reasonable salary I took it. I filtered jobs up front by not applying for ones that I didn’t think were a good fit, maybe because of driving distance or the company reputation or the published salary range. Rarely I would filter out a position post interview if I just didn’t have a good feeling about the culture (after a one hour interview even).
Not all of them were industry leaders, maybe one of them was a thought leader. Most were average in products and delivery. Some I stayed at for years, for a couple it was only a few weeks. The deciding factor wasn’t whether I liked their product, it was mostly whether they treated me well and paid what I considered a fair wage.
Today I take work based on the challenge it offers, how far I have to drive,how much it pays,the people I will work with, the overall culture. Money is always good, it’s what I need to take care of family, but once that amount is sufficient then I almost always decided based on culture and challenge. Sometimes I work for less than I think I’m worth just to take on a particular challenge or to join for a while a particular culture.
Maybe that answers the question. For me, it is just not the right question. For me, today, culture is perhaps the most interesting reason to work for someone, even over challenge. Next year maybe the most important thing will be money, or benefits, or being on a winning team.
It’s also a reminder to me that others pick jobs for different reasons than my own, and that’s ok too.