Using advanced thinking may improve your time and your life.

A wise man said, "A man's home is his castle, but his business is his kingdom." Since a person is going to spend a lot of time in that kingdom, it is a good idea to check out the neighborhood before moving in. Having worked on two continents and on two coasts of one country, I offer five pieces of advice to hungry job-seekers.

First: As much as possible, find out something about other employees and staff. If in retail or service, go to the business and act like a customer. It won't take long to find out how the workers take care of customers. Consider the likelihood that you will become just like them, and decide if that is how you want to act like in the future.

Second: Take a look at the premises. Every business has its own look, smell, process and ways. See if the level of cleanliness is within your comfort zone for your field. Take time to notice what areas of the organization are well-attended, and which show neglect. You will want to ask about the kinds of duties and projects  assigned with the job. Decide up front if something you see is a project that you'd be willing to take on when you are in the job. 

Third: Put yourself in the employer's shoes for a few minutes. If an employer is eager to hire you, you will want to pause and ask yourself some questions. For example, "What is it about me that makes me such a great candidate for this job?" or "How could an offer be made so quickly?" Sometimes, you might be the likeliest prospect to take a job that needs filling, simply because you are the only prospect that is unaware of the pitfalls. Twice in my life I took positions out-of-state based on an interview and the naïve assumption that I could overcome all obstacles, and in both cases my ignorance placed me in situations that local prospects avoided entirely. "Forewarned is forearmed," is good advice, especially if you think that you have the key to save the day for a lot of people you don't know. (On the other hand, maybe you really do, in which case, go for it!)

Fourth:  Spend some time being honest with yourself. A lot of material is available about finding your definite major purpose in life, and living by that. I have known people who actually chose and declared their purpose early in life; many succeeded in their chosen field to the extent that they stayed true to that purpose. I have also known people who changed their direction to please others, and show a diverse but unfocused resume which make it difficult for them to get hired. It is important, however, to test your own resolve, especially when young. If you set our on a professional path, and it really isn't for you, you should take the time to figure out what really is for you. You'll be much happier and much more successful.

Fifth: Put the job in perspective. Is it a revolving-door job or one you would want to work at for a decade or three? Does it offer some learning that interests you? Does it give you a chance to grow? Will you be able to work on higher-level tasks after you've mastered the basic skills required? A few minutes considering these questions and looking at the new job opportunity may save you some years of agony, or confirm your best chance of happiness in your profession.

There are many things to consider beyond pay scale, benefits, and hours when a new job comes to you. Using your ears, nose and other senses could make all the difference between having a magic kingdom or a tragic kingdom during your working life.