Someone said to me recently that they thought that in the decision criteria for choosing a job, who you work with (or for) was a much more important factor to consider than what you actually do. Put simply: the who matters more than the what.

I can think of times in my life where I’ve done things I didn’t enjoy per se simply because of the opportunity to be around certain people. And I’ve experienced this in both the professional and personal environments. With friends, I may go see a movie I don’t particularly want to see because I want to spend time with friends I haven’t spent time with in a while. At school, I may choose the less interesting (to me) of two project topics simply because the team is one I’d rather work with. While these experiences tend to make me think there’s some validity to the hypothesis, I can also imagine a situation where someone takes this to the extreme, chooses to do something they truly hate with people they really like and the hatred for the task leaks over into the relationships.

This notion isn’t offered as a comfort for those taking jobs they aren’t particularly thrilled about, but rather as a prod for those trying out potential employers: it may behoove us to figure out whether we’ll truly appreciate being part of the team, given who’s already on it.