Is Settling Really Settling, or Just Plain Common Sense?

by Richard C. Stimac

Personal Finance

Personal Finance (Photo credit: 401K)

I participate in LinkedIn’s Harvard Business Review discussions. Don’t think too highly of me for this. These discussions are not always high-brow or research driven. In fact, they often degenerate into personal anecdotes, and even into the “I don’t mean to be rude, but . . . “ type of exchanges.

One recent discussion was about choosing the right company culture for one’s own benefit. Of course, most participants advocated a very selective job acceptance process, even if it meant staying unemployed longer than one wished or giving up more lucrative compensation packages.

The general gist of the threads focused exclusively on choice, assuming that we all had it. Yet, we all don’t. Not everyone can avoid taking or keeping a job that she dislikes, or at least that doesn’t full fit her talents, personality, ambition, and so on. Many of us must imply accept what circumstances give us.

Has anyone been in a job that just didn’t fit, but personal finances precluded a move? Did personal finances push anyone to take a job that wasn’t the perfect fit? How does one really know the company culture before taking the job in the first place?

Granted, if given the ability to choose, we all want jobs that fit us. If we’re highly aggressive, then maybe pit trader. If we’re low key, like to work with kids, then maybe public school teaching. If we want power but little risk, then a management track in a large corp. If we want power and lots of risk, then entrepreneurship.

It’s nice work if you can get. . . . and the rest of the song goes, you can get it, if you try. Try as we might, we all can’t get it. Circumstances do trump effort sometimes, not always, but often.

When we look at career moves, business moves, what have you, we have to create plans that include the limitations of the situation, the context, the circumstances. We can search in the long run for a good fit, but in the beginning, we often have to take what we’re given.