Being stuck in a job that isn’t right for you is incredibly stressful, no matter how impressive the position looks on paper. We talk a lot about the nuanced details of applying, interviewing, and beginning a new role on the right foot — but what we often miss is the importance of pausing to ask yourself if the job you’re chasing is truly a good fit for you. Research shows that feeling unsatisfied at work can lead to unhappiness and burnout — and often, that comes down to fit.

Here are three questions to ask yourself before you sign an offer letter on the dotted line:

1. Does my personality mesh with the company culture?

Workplaces encompass so many details that aren’t stated in the fine print, so it’s important to ask questions about the company culture before you take the job. Oprah Winfrey recently told an interviewer that she left 60 Minutes because her personality did not match her role at the show. “I was working on pulling myself down and flattening out my personality,” she told the Hollywood Reporter. “I enjoyed working with the teams… but it was not the best format for me.” Although it had seemed like a promising opportunity, Winfrey split with the company because it didn’t match with her core nature — and in retrospect, the decision allowed her to spend more time on work that is more meaningful to her.

2. Is this work meaningful to me?

Two-thirds of the full-time American workforce suffers from burnout, and experts say that one reason for this daunting number comes down to the number of people who don’t find meaning in what they do. Before you accept a job offer, ask yourself if the mission behind the company is aligned with your values. If you find a sense of purpose in the work you’re doing, you’re more likely to feel fulfilled and happy in your role. Alternately, if you’re going through the motions of your work without feeling a connection to it, you might end up experiencing signs of burnout sooner than you think.

3. Can I show up with my whole self here?

How you choose to present yourself at your job can seriously impact how you feel about the work you’re doing, which is why it’s so important to find a workplace where you can feel comfortable showing up with your authentic self. When thinking about the job you want to accept, remember that there’s a difference between putting your best foot forward, and not feeling free to be yourself. If you feel that you have to conceal parts of yourself to fit in at the company, it’s very possible that this workplace isn’t the right fit for you, and you might be setting yourself up for a stressful work environment down the line.

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  • Rebecca Muller Feintuch

    Senior Editor and Community Manager


    Rebecca Muller Feintuch is the Senior Editor and Community Manager at Thrive. Her previous work experience includes roles in editorial and digital journalism. Rebecca is passionate about storytelling, creating meaningful connections, and prioritizing mental health and self-care. She is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. For her undergraduate thesis, she researched the relationship between women and fitness media consumerism.