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Back in the old days (like in ancient times), sailors and early explorers referred to the Earth's large bodies of water as "The Seven Seas." Although many still debate the origin and definition of what this means, most people agree that the original Seven Seas included; The Mediterranean Sea, The Adriatic Sea, The Black Sea, The Red Sea, The Arabian Sea, The Persian Gulf, and The Caspian Sea. "I see!" you say. (This vital information might come in handy next time you play Trivial Pursuit!)

Whether traveling by plane, train, automobile, or boat, you can count on an adventure, and hopefully a good one. Many will wait anxiously in anticipation of the arrival of a loved one returning from deployment. A reunion with Friends and Family awaits you. During your busy holiday season, you might find a few moments to relax and think about your career search. At some point, when you "drop anchor" and find yourself floating around with nothing to do, here's a simple way to explore the companies you might be interested in working for.

I like to call this The Seven C's of Exploring Companies.

Company - What is the company and what is their mission? What do they do? The "About Us" section of their website provides most of this information.

Culture - What is it like working there? To give you an easy way to understand this, think about what you'll experience during your holiday. You'll be reminded of culture when you get together with Friends and Family over the holidays. What's the vibe like? How do people treat each other? How do you feel when people arrive, and when they leave?

Compensation - What can I expect as a starting salary? What can I expect (assuming you do great things here, and you will!) in terms of raises and promotions within the next 1-5 years? What other things fall under the umbrella of compensation?

Competition - Can you name this company's fiercest competitors? How do they compete for the Number 1 spot? How do the competitors handle setbacks and victories? Do they play dirty or play fair? Have they been naughty or nice?

Commute - How far will I have to travel to go to work? Are there ways to tele-commute using technology in order to work from home or another remote location? Will working at this company mean the TSA folks at the airport will know me on a first name basis? Will I knock at my own door and have my kids claim that there's a stranger at the door?

Chain of Command - Who leads this company? What backgrounds and experiences do they bring? Do I have anything in common with the leadership? What is their leadership style? Are these people I know I can follow and help them succeed?

Challenge - Will working at this company present me with a welcomed challenge? Will I get up excited to go to work each day? Will I lose sleep thinking about all the potential I bring to the company? Will I be stretched mentally? Will I leave each day knowing I learned, contributed, and added value?

Enjoy your journey as you sail the Seven C's!