Finding Your Perfect Match in a Career

By Amanda Freuler

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, most of us are on the hunt for chocolates, roses and the perfect date to share the two for $50 deal at Babalu Tapas and Tacos. Being a young professional, you might also be on the hunt for the perfect job opportunity in Knoxville.

If you’re currently in a position or company that brings you little satisfaction and fails to provide much more to your life than a paycheck, it’s time to start looking for your perfect match. As you scour the YPK Job Board and Knoxville businesses for opportunities that will provide you with professional growth and leadership experience, consider these qualities that could help you fall back in love with your career.

Are you passionate about your job?

We’ve all heard the saying, “if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.” Some days, this saying feels unrealistic. Afterall, no matter how much you love your job you’re still waking up before sunrise to get ready for the daily grind. But, at its core, this saying speaks voluminous truths. As a young professional, you probably went to a college or trade school to learn a set of skills that you enjoy. Can you say you’re still applying those skills to your current job? Here’s a few other questions to ask yourself that may help guide you to to a job you love:

  • Are you passionate about the company’s missions and goals?

  • Do you feel like you’re working for a worthy cause or working towards a goal you believe in?

  • Do you share the same values as your company? (Most companies have a section of their website that outlines their mission and values.)

  • Are you fulfilling other passions through your job? For instance, are you getting the opportunity to travel or give back to the community?

If your answer to most of those questions was “no,” then you probably haven’t found the right opportunity for you.

Are there professional development opportunities?

Most young professionals who enjoy their careers seek advancement opportunities in a company. If you’re in a dead-end job right now, it’s easy to think “what’s the point?” When looking at ways a company can help you advance your career, consider these questions:

  • Are there promotion opportunities and is there room to grow beyond the position?

  • Does the company support internal and external training opportunities such as conferences, online training programs, or even degree reimbursement opportunities?

  • Does the company support involvement in community networking, such as joining organizations like YPK?

  • Is the position you’re applying for in line with your overall career goals and aspirations?

  • Are there mentorship opportunities with other employees in the company?

If a company is purely self-motivated and does not cultivate an environment for their employees to grow individually in their careers, run quicker than you did on your last bad date.

Is there work/life balance?

Professionals can easily fall into a workaholic routine when they love their work and what they’re working towards in a company, but is this by choice? During job interviews, it’s important to consider the company’s culture and attitude towards work/life balance.

  • Do they offer employees paid time off or vacation time?

  • Is there sick time?

  • Can employees make up time that’s missed for doctor’s appointments and other unavoidable conflicts?

  • How flexible are employee schedules?

  • Are there opportunities to work from home when necessary?

  • What does an average work day look like?

Be sure to also consider the commute from your home to the office. Considering how far you’re willing to drive and spend in the car each day can easily narrow down your job search, or expand available opportunities.

Are you receiving fair pay?

Obviously, pay is a huge factor in any job decision. Before accepting a job offer, you’ll want to compare your profession’s average salary in Knoxville for your experience level to what the company is offering. According to, the average salary in Knoxville is $44,257. This number fluctuates depending on type of profession, company (for-profit versus non-profit) and experience level. If you want to compare salaries in your field, here are a few other websites to browse:

Similarly to finding “the one” in a person, no job will be perfect. There will always be compromises to be made and pros and cons to be considered. At the end of the day though, can you say you love it at least a little? If not, then it’s time to get back out there and find a company worth giving your time, talent and maybe even a rose to this year.



Amanda Freuler is a Communications and Marketing Specialist with Oak Ridge Associated Univerisities (ORAU). She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2017 and was eager to come home to the Knoxville area and reconnect with professionals her age. Amanda has been in YPK since the fall of 2018. When she's not writing and creating content, you can find her perusing local antique stores, exploring new Knoxville eateries with friends or planning her next vacation abroad.