5 Ways to Tell if a Job is a Good Fit

In a downed economy, any job might make a good fit.

But many times a leader will want to evaluate a job—either the job he’s in, or a job he’s considering—to make sure it’s a good fit.

Over the past years I’ve developed a checklist of 5 ways to evaluate a job.

For easy recall, the checklist follows the acronym P*A*P*E*R.

When it comes to a job, look for:



A paycheck is a huge reason for working. Does a job provide for your financial needs?

If you don’t get paid enough at a job, and you aren’t able to scale back your lifestyle, it will become difficult to remain in that position over the long haul.

You might need to raise your skills so your value rises to your employer. Or perhaps it’s time to look for another line of work.


Aptitude means you can do a job, (or you can learn to do a job), and your temperament is suited for the work.

You might want to be a fighter pilot, but you wear glasses as thick as Coke bottles. That cancels out the aptitude question. Or you might work as a trial room attorney, but you find you have no stomach for confrontation. Not a good fit.

You have natural and learned talents, abilities, propensities, and preferences—all those factor into how you are able to do a job.


It’s easy to think only of yourself when it comes to a job. But a wise leader factors in what his spouse thinks about a job situation too.

If you love a job but your wife hates it, (or vice versa), it probably won’t be a long term fit.

For single people, this is still something to consider as you evaluate a job or career direction.

With some jobs, it’s virtually impossible to do the job well and have a family. For instance, a friend works as a military contractor and is gone overseas for up to two years at a time. He’s often forbidden to disclose his whereabouts or even to have contact back home. That makes it tough to be an effective husband and father.

When seeking a job, factor in the partnership equation. Will this job allow you to handle your responsibilities at home and enjoy your family?


Being passionate about a job is a good thing. If you absolutely hate a job, chances are it won’t be a good fit long-term.

You might not love everything about a job, but maybe you’re excited about what you’ll learn there, or the opportunities it provides, or where it might lead. That’s fine.

Similarly, sometimes a job carries a level of excitement only for a season, and then the excitement wanes.

If you’re not excited about your job, that may be your nudge to seek something new.


Last, but perhaps most importantly, does this job matter? Are you doing a good work? Does it affect people in positive ways?

If you see your job as purposeless, it will be hard to sustain over time. But if you see your work as purposeful, it can help overcome other difficult factors that may be present in a job.

The most satisfying jobs will have all 5 factors present.

Sometimes that’s not possible, of course, and concessions need to be made.

Still, it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into. Or what you need to get yourself out of.


Question: What’s your job right now? Do you consider it a good fit? Why or why not?




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