Thursday, July 1, 2010

Reflection: What's a great job?

Finding a great job. That's what everyone wants, right? A great job could mean high pay, reasonable hours, a nice boss, a short commute, or interesting work. Personally, I think DC is a wonderful place to find lots of those checkboxes, but I might be a little bit biased. I feel lucky that I have always had jobs that I enjoy doing. What is it about great jobs that make them so great? Here's a few that I thought of - mostly inspired by my current job, but drawn upon some great experiences I've had in the past as well.

1. Learning about the field: My workplace hosts MANY seminars, meetings, and courses, in which people both inside and outside of our office speak about their work. I chose this current job over another one partially because of opportunities like this - and I'm really glad I did. 

2. Accepting attitudes towards other coworkers: Different backgrounds and perspectives are really welcomed. I think it goes beyond a hackneyed "diversity mission statement" in that there really IS an effort to understand where other people are coming from.  I don't feel an attitude that someone "doesn't fit" because of a particular background or career goal. Also, most people are really nice. There's not a lot of negative office gossip.  

3. Reasonable hours:  While I sometimes work weekends, I always know ahead of time when it's going to be, and it's usually a reasonable number of weekends per month. The key is, I'm never pressured into working long or odd hours at the last minute. I am very glad that my time is respected, since it helps my sanity. I am better able to plan for my personal life and non-work interests, both of which are very important to me to maintain. 

4. Getting to work with people in the community. I work in research, and I love working with the people who volunteer for studies. I recruit them to come in, stay in contact with them throughout the recruitment process, and interact with them when they come in for the studies. This is interesting because I have first-hand experience with the participants' experiences in the study. I've learned a LOT this way, and I've gotten a perspective that people further removed from the day-to-day operations don't get. 

Other positive aspects which I will mention briefly:
-getting to work on different projects
-decent commute to where I live
-getting to have input on or greater responsibility in new projects
-getting respectable pay for work done

I am thinking about these things because one of my goals lately is to pay more attention to the positive parts of my daily life, and to give more acknowledgment to those things. I think talking about the job I do for most of my day is a natural place to start.

What are some of your thoughts on what makes a great job great? Any positive experiences that you've had that you'd like to share?

1 comment:

Nanda said...

I would add to that list: Being given responsibility. Even being responsible for something small can give you a sense of being needed and belonging. When you're not given responsibility, the message is loud and clear that you're not trusted and not thought of as competent.