The Meat Loaf Guide to Finding the Right Job for You

Now don't be sad, oh, 'cause two out of three ain't bad—Meat Loaf

At Startup Institute, we believe that finding a career you’re truly passionate about is attainable—that work can be fulfilling both intellectually and emotionally. Still, finding this kind of work is easier said than done. In order to find the right job, you need to first have clarity around what you want. And discovering what makes you happy can be a difficult task.[bctt tweet="The Meat Loaf Guide to Finding the Right Job for You, by @zimmerbugg"]


For some, the opportunity to develop skills and grow as a professional is key to feeling engaged at work. Others may value a company’s mission the most, or need to focus on finding a culture that resonates with their own personality and work style.

We all want the full-package—the right role, the right product, the right people to build it with. Still, understanding what inspires you most will help you to set priorities in your job search and design your career path. Just as finding someone you’re romantically compatible with doesn’t necessarily mean checking every last box, finding the right job—especially if you’re going through a career change—might require you to identify what your non-negotiables are, as well as what aspects you’re willing to accept as less-than-perfect.[bctt tweet="Knowing what inspires you most will help you to set priorities in your #jobsearch - @zimmerbugg"]

As our students explore the job opportunities available to them, the options can become overwhelming. Equally stressful is to look at the options and decide that none of them check all the boxes, so none are the right fit. When there’s so much mystery around a new employment opportunity, and so much at stake, how do you make an educated and rational decision? How do you find the right job?

This is where Meat Loaf can help.

The Meat Loaf model for finding the right job: two out of three ain’t bad.

As you search for the next step in your career, consider these three aspects:

  • Culture
  • Role
  • Industry

Use the two out of three model to ensure your next career move fulfills the majority of things that are important to you. You usually can’t have everything you want, but you should have most of what you want. Here’s how—[bctt tweet="Culture, Role, Industry—2 out of 3 ain't bad, says @zimmerbugg"]

Company culture:

Driving motivation—relationships; being part of something bigger

Culture is incredibly important to you. You derive inspiration from your environment, and you can only love your job if you sincerely enjoy the people who you work with. Collaborating with a cohesive team, sharing office laughs, and occasionally cracking open some beers on a Friday at five sounds like a dream.

An unengaging office environment is likely to make or break your experience, so be sure to talk to a number of employees at the company. Consider asking questions about team dynamics, the company’s “personality,” and if coworkers spend time together outside of the office.[bctt tweet="Relationship-driven? Look for opportunities to collaborate, says @zimmerbugg"]

Questions to ask the hiring manager during the interview:

  • What are team dynamics like? In what ways can I expect to collaborate with other coworkers?
  • How would you describe the culture or “personality” of this company?
  • What are the company values?
  • What types of people are successful here?
  • Do coworkers spend any time together outside of the office?

Your Role:

Driving motivation—ambition; learning

If your role is your top priority, then the specific job-function and responsibilities should be your focus. These people are often highly goal-driven, most inspired by opportunities that help them to build on their strengths. They enjoy exercising their skills, and love being looked to as rockstars.

As you think about taking the next step in your career, the responsibilities, challenges, and skill-building opportunities in a new job should be your first consideration. Look for mentorship and opportunities that will both exhibit and grow your skills. Be clear on the top skills that you want to develop and emphasize these as you interview for the role. Make sure your supervisor understands these goals and is willing to give you the space you need to flex those muscles.[bctt tweet="Ambition-driven people should focus on finding mentorship + learning opportunities, says @zimmerbugg"]

Questions to ask the hiring manager during the interview:

  • What is the greatest challenge about this role?
  • How will my performance be measured?
  • What kind of working relationship/ dynamic can I expect to have with you (/my supervisor)?
  • When I am successful in this role, how do you see my position here evolving? What additional responsibilities might I be able to eventually take on?

The industry you're in:

Driving motivation: passion

You need a product and industry that you care about, and for which you can make an important impact. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic who wants to work on a sports-related product, a do-gooder who wants to save the world, or you’re just excited to have a hand in building The Next Big Thing, you’re most energized by a company’s actual product.

You undoubtedly have plenty of skills that you want to develop as a professional, but if you aren’t inspired by the mission or product that you are hustling for, you’re never going to enjoy putting those skills to work. Focus your job search on getting your foot in the door in the right industry—the specifics of your role and company culture are secondary.[bctt tweet="Passion-driven ppl should prioritize the mission/ industry that they're working in - @zimmerbugg"]

Questions to ask the hiring manager during the interview*:

*Note: Specifics about the industry are likely to be more evident and/or available to an outsider than specifics about culture or the job function (beyond the published job description). Be sure that the answers to your questions aren’t readily available on the internet.

  • How do you see [company] differentiating themselves from competitors in the future?
  • What are the possibilities for new products or expansion?
  • What do you value most as a company?

As you transition your career, of course you should try to find a position that checks all the boxes, but remember the wise words of Meat Loaf—two out of three ain't bad. If you can find a job that fits the bill for your top two, you’re likely to be in great shape. The caveat is that, while the third priority doesn’t need to be a perfect match, you shouldn’t forget about it altogether. Nothing, for example, can make up for a completely toxic culture. Keep your priorities straight, but have clarity around how all three of these things measure up.[bctt tweet="When it comes to your #jobsearch, two out of three ain't bad, says @zimmerbugg"]