I’ve had a number of reasons to think about work lately, the role it plays in my life and what types of work I find fulfilling. Juggling multiple clients, sometimes failing to juggle multiple clients, going back into the office last fall, etc. When I was younger, if you’d asked me what I needed from a job, I would have said “enough money to live on, something that will keep me from being bored, and a sense that I’m making a difference in the world.”
Somewhere along the line, though, I’ve either developed or realized a different set of needs. I took management courses in my graduate programs, but I never could figure out how I was supposed to apply any of those theories in reality when I found myself managing others. But as I’ve experienced more and started to realize how much people differ in what motivates them, I’m wondering if I wouldn’t find some of those materials more meaninfgul.
So here’s what I need from a job in order to find it satisfying, as far as I can tell right now:
- I need to have a lot of work to do most of the time.
- I need to feel like I am responsible for something, and that my taking responsibility for that thing takes weight off of someone else.
- I need to help make things run better. I need to figure out solutions to organizational systems problems, and I need my input to be taken seriously. I don’t always have all the answers, but I’m really good at this, and it kills me to not use those skills.
- I need to have a big picture understanding of how things work, even if my piece is very small.
- I need to work with other people as a team, where everyone is focused on how we can all work together to get the job done.
- I need to work for and with people with high standards for themselves and those around them.
- I need to know that if I make a mistake, someone will notice and tell me directly, so I can avoid making that kind of mistake again.
- I need to always be figuring out ways to do my job better.
How about you? What makes a job good for you?