The Meaning of Work

Standard

Here are my thoughts on the ingredients for a good job.

  1. Professional Growth – Building a TRANSFERABLE skill set is the most important thing a job can offer. If you aren’t growing, someone in another company somewhere is and they’ll beat you out of some future job offer. Transferable means that you aren’t growing into their bureaucracy. You are learning skills that have value outside that company.
  2. Meaningful Work – At the end of the day does the work you do have any meaning? Did you create something, help a customer or did you just occupy space in a department that had too much money to spend on personnel? Are you building bridges or playing bridge on Yahoo! Games?
  3. Management – Nobody likes a bad manager. And I’d add that hands-off management can often cultivate a culture of complacency. Lead, follow or get out of the way. Refusal to do all three defines bad management.
  4. Paycheck – We work to eat. Living below your means and saving aggressively gives you the freedom to be the director of your own life. Living paycheck to paycheck is surrendering your freedom.

A great job will meet all 4 ingredients. A good job might meet 3. A fair job will have 2. And a bad job will have 0 or 1. And jobs change over time. Most professional growth occurs early in a position. Then the employee gets pigeon holed into a role and growth slows or stops. Managers change and pay increases tend to lag skill increases.

The only thing I got from the job I left this morning was a good paycheck. That’s not enough anymore.

Legacy Comments

Matt

CONGRATULATIONS! I support your decision 100%. You know my strong opinions about JOBs (i.e. risky, slave wage-makers)/WORK, etc, so I won’t pontificate here. I’ll support you no matter what you plan on doing (and I might throw in my opinion every once and a while). 😉

Joe

Sounds like the right call.

I did the same thing several weeks ago and have not looked back. It’s scary, but necessary, to get out of situations that suck (for all the reasons you describe).

Nick

Finally! You took my darned advice. I feel like I’ve accomplished something today.

Thanks!

Robin

Hey MAS, I bookmarked your site a while back while looking for a Mexican band, and seeing that you chose to embark on a new chapter makes me smile. I’m doing the same tomorrow.
Cheers!

Sam

congrats.. on a good decision!
I left mine in 2003 and have never regretted. In fact its only after that I have realized the true meaning of life and what I have been depriving myself of. So hats off to you and good luck 🙂