What is Your Ideal Work Environment?

ideal career and work environmentHow to Identify Your Ideal Work Environment: Evaluate your Likes/Dislikes

We spend a large percentage of time and life in our careers. So it certainly makes sense to pursue a career that is enjoyable and satisfying. There are many factors that go into career satisfaction. One is finding the right work environment.

Let’s get started on identifying your ideal work environment!

Review your career history step-by-step.

Think about all the career positions you have held. Evaluate what you did and did not like about them. The purpose of this exercise is to identify what type of work conditions bring out the best in you.

  • Focus on one career position at a time.
  • List aspects of your position you liked and did not like.

Your position: Remember that your career position can be other than “paid work”. In addition to jobs you’ve held, you can write down what your role was. For example:

  • Full time mother or father
  • Volunteer worker (specify what kind)
  • Student
  • Member of a group/organization

What is perfect for you may be terrible for someone else. Only you know what your experiences have been and what has worked well for you. Here are some aspects of work environments that other people have expressed.

Example likes Example dislikes
·       Working in a team of motivated and skilled colleagues.

·       Clear expectations and description of duties.

·       Beautiful office space, where I had my own office.

·       An encouraging and supportive manager, who always led by example.


·       Working on a computer all day without human contact.

·       Inflexible decision making processes in a large organization.

·       Expectation that everyone works overtime without any special compensation.

·       Difficult manager, who delegated responsibility to the wrong people.


Ready to make a change in your career? This report will guide you through 7 steps to making a career change. Includes self assessment questions.

Evaluate Your Roles & Work History

Step One: Pick a position and list what you liked about that job/role in one column. Then list what you did not like in a second column. Go through this process for multiple positions so you can identify patterns throughout your experiences.

Be sure to go back as far as possible. You may find that you enjoyed working as a summer camp counselor when you were 14. Or volunteering one summer in high school. Don’t disregard these experiences. When they all add up together you will start to see clues and patterns emerging. You can keep track of your likes/dislikes and preferred qualities in an excel spreadsheet for easy reference.

Position You Will Evaluate:  
(+) What did you like about it? (-) What did you not like about it?
  1. .
  1. .

Step Two: Use your dislikes to define what you like

Your dislikes give you an opportunity to define what you like instead. Look at each dislike you wrote above and define what you would prefer instead. This step is important, because your preference is not always the opposite, but something unique that only you can define. Your results from this step will be added to your complete list of your ideal work environment.

Your dislikes What would you prefer instead?
  1. .
  1. .

Step 3: Select Your Top Preferences

Select 5-10 preferences for your ideal work environment from the your likes and prefer instead lists from all the positions you evaluated. Keep this list handy to inform you of what you are looking for in a career.

That’s it! Now you have some ideas about the characteristics that define your ideal work environment.

Career Satisfaction

Other factors that go into a satisfying career include: clarifying your most important career values, knowing your personality preferences, identifying your career interests and knowing your key strengths and skills.

Sometimes an objective perspective can help you identify patterns in your preferences that indicate good-fit careers and occupations. Our career counselors in Houston TX can help you get clear on your career direction. Call us to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

Download our guide, “7 Steps to Career Direction.” 

Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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