My best job could be any number of specific positions in any number of companies (including my own!), but any job qualifying as a best job would have these characteristics:
- entails a variety of functions
- allows control over my own work
- is aligned with my interests
- provides opportunities to learn and try new stuff
- allows me to work both indoors and/or outdoors
- has a mix of physical and mental activities
- is challenging, but not overwhelming
- surrounds me with good people – funny people – amicable people
- allows me to work my own hours
- provides for non-work hours (no on call)
- gives me a chance to run things
- has a business and model I believe in
- provides a good company culture
- is in a company that does innovative things, that is striving for something great
- pays well and has good benefits
- involves marketing, projects, leading others and creating something
National Park Service. Chief of Planning and Environmental Compliance – Katmai National Park and Preserve. It pays over 100K a year; lets me work indoors and out; is part of a great endeavor (national parks are awesome); puts me in charge; exposes me to new learning opportunities; and challenges me to deal with projects, people, regulations and many other things.Another example of a best job (and one that is also available today) is being an Intrepreter-volunteer coordinator at Steamboat Lake State Park, CO. I could work indoors and out; lead and mentor park volunteers; be involved with ensuring folks enjoyed their state park in Colorado; control my own work; and perform marketing activities related to training programs which I get to develop.
A dream endeavor would be to develop my own private park, building it up to an established park and a and popular place to go, and then donating it to a city or a state.
My best job that I actually ever had was being a Software Development Manger at a financial services institution. It paid well, had great benefits and good people (along with it’s fair share of not so nice ones). The position let me lead people and dealt in creating new applications for new products in a company that encouraged innovative thinking. It didn’t let me work outside, and though the service and products were needed and important, they weren’t world shaking-ly awesome. I was also on call 24/7.
Any job, no matter how perfect, can become a nightmare if the people or conditions irritate you. My worst job is one where I:
- stand up – especially in one place – all the time
- do hard physical labor all the time
- have no say in how things are run
- do repetitive tasks
- have no chance to grow, learn or move up
- am in a company whose structure prevents my success
- have a controlling boss and/or uncooperative peers
- get low pay and poor benefits
- disagree with goals of company
- am in a company that does illegal or immoral things
- work with patronizing people – ones who put me down
- get no training to meet company expectations
- am on call, have long hours and/or work weekends
- am away from home a lot
- have to punch a time clock
- have to deal with angry customers all the time
A job I would hate to have – one that is available today – is a manual laborer for Amazon fulfillment. Even the job description makes it sound bad – repetitive work, standing up all the time, lifting heavy stuff, working under a deadline in a sometimes too hot, sometimes too cold environment. Most likely it requires punching a time clock, specific start, break, lunch and stop times and probably is dead end.
Another job I would not want – and is available today – is a maid at a senior care facility. It’s not that I object to doing the housework (after all I do it at home all the time), it’s that I think the atmosphere would be depressing, the environment would probably be stale and smelly and the position would be responsible to everyone else in the joint – nurses, nurses aides, family members, desk clerks and etc. There would likely be little outside work. I probably would be required to work set hours, punch a time clock and would have no opportunity to learn anything new. Although I could probably control some aspects of my work, there wouldn’t be much opportunity to create something important.
Don’t get me wrong. I would take either of those jobs and do the best I could at each if I needed to support myself with the income – or take care of someone else with it. It’s just that they don’t conform to my idea of a great job.
In real life, I did have a maid job once summer, for a few weeks. I cleaned motel rooms. This was back during the civil rights unrest days. Most of the cleaning crew were black and I am not. I had trouble getting the clean sheets, toilet paper and other supplies needed to do my job cleaning rooms. I also didn’t like it when, after knocking and not getting an answer, I opened the door to find some guest still in the room.
Another real job I had that wasn’t the best was a position as sales supervisor at JC Penney. JC Penney was not a bad company for which to work, but the position I had called for me to roam the entire store, dealing with temporary help that was not performing well and irate customers bringing back things like used underwear and expecting a return. I was cursed multiple times by Penney’s lovely customers – especially during the holidays – as I tried to maintain company policy over returns. Then, typically I was overruled when the customer went on up the ladder to higher management – who gave their money back. They should have just changed company policy and let me give the money back!
What do you look for in a job? Are their any jobs you absolutely would not do? What was your worst and best job?