Does pining after the perfect job take away from the one you already have? asks Rhonda Scharf
What would be the perfect job for you? Do you want to travel, or do you want lots of money, or to be your own boss? Maybe you want to work for someone rich and famous, or perhaps you want to be a celebrity yourself. You might want a job without overtime, without unrealistic expectations on you, or pressure.
I think the idea of a “perfect job” is a myth, and I think we set ourselves up to failure by thinking there is such a thing.
Don’t get me wrong – I love my job. I really do. I’m not sure I will ever formally retire. I’ll probably always do what I do in one sense or another, because my job makes me happy. But is it perfect? No, absolutely not. I travel a lot. I sleep in a bed that is not mine about 40 percent of the time. I’m typically on the road three to four days a week, nearly every week of the year. That makes it hard to have a perfect marriage, it makes it hard to be the perfect mother, and (hopefully) soon-to-be grandmother, the perfect daughter, sister, or friend.
Is it reasonable to need the perfect job? Or should we start looking for great and give up on perfect? Since it’s likely that no job is perfect all the time, does pining after that elusive perfect job take away from the one we have that is 99 percent or even 89 percent fantastic?
I think there are some distinct markers that make a great job. One that may not be perfect, but perhaps is the right job for you, right now.
1. You enjoy going to work.
You may not love it when your alarm clock rings, but once you’re up and running, you enjoy going to work. You look forward to time with your coworkers, your boss, and your tasks.
You know that you are making a difference.
While you may never get through your to-do list, you feel that you’ve accomplished things during the day, you’ve made progress. The new projects coming your way don’t keep you up at night, or at work constantly. You enjoy the challenge.
These are all good signs that you enjoy what you do, that you’re in the right job for you. It may not be the case every single day, but generally this is how you feel about going to work in the morning.
2. You are passionate about what you do and who you do it for.
You need to have a sense of pride when you tell people about your job. When people ask what you do, you wouldn’t ever use the word just, as in, “I’m just an administrative assistant.” When you tell people what you do, they almost feel like you are telling them that they should be doing this as well. You are proud of what you do.
3. Your values are aligned with your company’s values.
You need to be in line with the vision and values of your company. If you’re working at a company that isn’t in line with your values, you can’t be passionate about it. For instance, let’s assume you are strongly supporting a healthy lifestyle and eating habits. You couldn’t be passionate about working for a company that specializes in unhealthy fast food; it would go against who you are. Similarly, it would be very difficult to work for a political party you didn’t support. You can’t have the perfect job if the company you work for contravenes your core values.
Values are also in jeopardy when senior management doesn’t “walk their talk.” Could you have the perfect job at a company that stresses the importance of a respectful workplace, but doesn’t police it? That turns the other cheek when unprofessional and inappropriate behaviour is expressed? Probably not.
Everyone’s vision of the perfect job is a little different. It may (or may not) be about your commute, your salary, your title, your benefits. What is perfect for you may not be perfect for someone else. However, to make a job perfect (or close enough) you must enjoy it, have a passion for what you do, and believe in the core values of the company and the team that represents them.