When I was unemployed a few years ago, a job digging ditches for $2 an hour would have qualified as a good job. I was lucky and got what I thought was a good job. It had a salary, some health insurance benefits, and a few days of paid vacation each year. Within a year or two, the good job somehow turned into a crappy job. So I looked elsewhere for a better job and got it. Would I consider my position now to be a good job? I plead the fifth. (By the way, how ya doin’ boss?)
Time for Me to Get a Better Duty!
Your definition of a good job changes often. When you think you should get more money and find a position that does pay more, the novelty of the increased cash flow eventually fades. As you become more proficient at your work, your pay doesn’t increase proportionally – you just get more work. If you’re like me, the real measure of needing a new gig comes when you don’t have opportunities to learn new things.
We have to know what we’re aiming for when we start a job hunt. In one episode of the classic television series, I Love Lucy, Lucy and her friend Ethel decide to go out and get jobs. They visit the ACME Employment Agency and meet with Mr. Snodgrass (president of the agency) for help in getting work. Take a look… http://www.hulu.com/watch/438131
Good Jobs Gone Bad!
How often did/do you hear that you should go to college to get a good job? Is a good job simply one that has more security than others? Or, is a good job always the highest paying job? Perhaps you define a good job as something you really enjoy doing.
The people I know who enjoy their jobs don’t get paid the most and their incomes aren’t predictable. Others I know who have high-paying, secure jobs don’t enjoy them very much (programmers, engineers, sales reps, etc.) Maybe there’s no such thing as a perfect job, and all we can do is try to strike a balance between income, security, and enjoyment.
My idea of a good job (moving target that it is) includes:
- Sufficient pay to meet all my family’s needs and a little extra for saving and playing
- Ongoing opportunities to learn new skills
- Some liberty in coming/going as I please
- Managers and coworkers who are willing to share the load
- Some autonomy in creating things how I think best
This list doesn’t include everything I value in a good job. You may have noticed that I didn’t include security as a requirement. Security in a job would be nice, but it’s a myth. I’ve seen my employers sack “very loyal” employees with no more than a few minutes’ notice. If they don’t think your work is making them money – no matter how much you’ve made them in the past or how much you could make them in the future – it’s over.
The most effective learning is driven by a specific purpose. Take some time define what type of job or work you’re looking for.
- You may be unemployed and simply want a steady job with a fair paycheck.
- You may be stuck in a dead-end job and plan on starting your own business. What type of work would you do, and how much money do you hope to make?
- You may have a high paying job already, but want “better work” that offers more time to take care of your health and family.