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Karolina Szczur

Some of my friends ask me for advice on how to find a job. Every single time I feel extremely flattered by the trust they have put in me. They may all have different goals, expectations and experiences, but they all deserve one thing—a chance for quality employment.

This can be hard to come by these days though—in the world of overworking, chasing after money, and lack of respect for yourself and others. Companies grow too fast, teams lose intimacy and closure, goals shift.

During eight years of my career I have worked at more than ten product-oriented companies or agencies—and I’ve also had dozens of clients when freelancing. Some of those jobs were terrible, some of them were ok, but almost none made me happy. Up until now.

Hopefully this will make you think before you choose to accept a new job or leave the current one. Or it may help you think about how you can help your current company better.

If you were to ask me what to look for in a prospective employer, team or client, I would tell you to work where…

Your work is being appreciated #

In an honest and public way (be it internally or for the entire world wide web). And if you’re doing a mediocre or lousy job, it will be clearly communicated. In those cases—help will be given.

Your workplace is a safe place #

When conflict arises or there are uncomfortable situations or clear violation of personal space or the team’s code of conduct, everyone feels confident to voice their concerns. Action is taken. People creating a non-safe environment are held responsible for their actions, no matter their position.

Your time is valued #

There is no expectation for you to compromise your mental and physical health for the sake of more money in someone else’s pocket. Overworking is considered a bad example, overhours accepted only if voluntary and appropriately rewarded.

Your health is crucial #

If you need a break—take it.

Your salary is equal #

Your income should be based on the market—if you work in UK—you get UK rates, no matter if remote or on-site. You are not paid less because of your nationality, geographical location, race or gender.

You are not a trophy #

You are not your boss’s possession—you’ve been hired for your expertise, not to be a prize on a shelf, that your employer can brag about acquiring. You’re not a conference popularity card or PR campaign face either.

You make a difference #

You are pushed and encouraged to make a difference, be it tiny or huge, in the lives of your co-workers, clients or buyers of the product.

Setting those expectations is crucial for taking care of your mental well-being, self-esteem, and creating a productive, happy work environment. By doing that you also push those who fail at improving inclusivity and equality, in the right direction.

The important thing to remember is—no one will do it for you. Respect yourself and expect respect from others.

Good luck.