When it comes to your job search, the title of this post is true. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s your life. It’s their company.

I decided to post a portion of the first chapter of Interview Intervention: Communication That Gets You Hired as today’s post because as we head into the last quarter of the year, it’s a great time to evaluate your current job situation and take stock of what you should be grateful for as well as what you should change.

That first chapter is titled “The World Actually Does Revolved Around You,” and is true at least as it relates to finding the right job for yourself. If you enjoy what you read, feel free to download your complimentary eBook from the milewalk website.

It seems obvious and easy enough. You’re preparing for a job interview with a company, so you’ll surf its website, perhaps call a few colleagues, gather some information, and jot down a few questions. You’ll be ready. How many times have you thought this?

I’ll go out on a limb. You’re doing it backward. How do I know? For the last twenty-four years, I’ve served as a consultant to over 150 companies, helping them improve various business-, technology-, and employment-related issues. For the last seven years, I’ve focused primarily on executive search activities, helping prominent organizations recruit the best employee talent. In recent years, I’ve spoken with over one hundred people each week—every week—all year long. Unanimously, they approached changing jobs the same way. I wasn’t sure why, because it always seemed illogical to me. They evaluated their available options and chose what they thought was best for them at the time. Their first option (if they were employed) was automatically their current job. Good or bad, that current job served as the perennial yardstick until something better surfaced. Their second or third options could have been opportunities they discovered through a job listing, recruiter, employed friend, or some similar means. Regardless of the source, the newly minted candidate likely goes into penciling the advantages and disadvantages of each option, often weighing them against each other. I’ve even seen some of the more energetic types draw matrices and tables. What I’ve never witnessed is a candidate who proactively documented or was fully aware of her needs and criteria before she took her first step. These criteria should become the centerpiece against which everything is measured.

As a job candidate, you might think your greatest qualities are your skills, work experience, and bubbly personality. While all are important, I think your greatest asset when evaluating and pursuing a career change is your self-awareness. That self-awareness will help you navigate through the murkiest of recruitment processes and serve as your beacon, especially when you feel that uneasiness in your stomach that indicates something escapable doesn’t “feel right.” It will also, most importantly, serve as the focal point upon which you can evaluate the company and whether it is right for you.

Throughout this book, I don’t define interviewing success as “getting the job.” Many candidates who get the job become miserable employees. They might have been better off not getting the job or turning down the employment offer. Success, as I see it, is securing the right job with the right company that keeps you happy for a sustained period. I assume everyone would rather be employed and happy than simply employed. Much of this book focuses on techniques that help you evaluate the company and job as you interview to ensure you make effective decisions regarding your career.