Is There Such Thing as a ‘Perfect Job’ for You? We Asked a Career Coach

Dream job

With the New Year nearly upon us, many of us are considering changing up aspects of our life — work being one of them. But could that be the result of thinking the grass is always greener? Which brings us to the question: is there really such a thing as the ‘perfect job’ that we might think we’re missing out on?

“The definition of a ‘good job’ will be different for every employee, depending on what criteria is important to them at that time,” says Leah Lambart, career and interview coach at Relaunch Me.

“Bear in mind, though, that our criteria can change significantly over time and a result of external circumstances. For example, someone earlier in their career might consider a ‘good job’ to be a job that provides status, high salary and opportunities to travel or work overseas — while an employee later in their career with a young family might hold other values to be more important to them, like flexibility, work-life balance and less travel or after-hours commitments.”

All that said, however, Lambart says there are certain characteristics associated with a ‘good job’ you can look out for when you’re job searching or considering whether your current job is right for you.

Appreciation for Your Work

“Most employees want to be recognised for their efforts, some more than others. This doesn’t necessarily mean receiving huge rewards or bonuses. But simply a ‘thank you’ every now or then, as part of regular feedback, will make a huge difference as to whether employees are motivated and engaged in their workplace.” 

Work That Plays to Your Strengths

“A ‘good job’ can also be measured by whether it is aligned with an employee’s natural strengths. In most cases, employees are not happy doing work that requires them to overcome weaknesses on an ongoing basis. Employees tend to be happier and more engaged when they are doing work that plays to their natural strengths — when work feels easy, energising and they feel ‘in flow’.”

Learning and Development Opportunities

“For most employees, the opportunity to continue to learn and be offered training opportunities is an important criterion when it comes to a ‘good job’. Most people will stay in a job longer if they are continuing to develop their skills and don’t get stale. This may not necessarily be just about developing technical skills but also building personal development skills that challenge them on a different level.”

A Genuine Interest in the Work

“For employees to be in their ‘best fit’ career, they need to feel energised by, and interested in, the work they are doing most of the time. Doing work that is tedious and boring in a great work environment will only sustain them for so long, but for longevity in a job, an employee needs to have some genuine interest in the work they do.

“A test for this is to consider how interested you are in your area of work outside of your 9 to 5 job. For instance, do you do anything extra outside of work to learn more about your area of work such as reading articles, subscribing to newsletters, listening to podcasts, buying books or signing up for additional courses or training, even if not required?

“Another test is to consider how quickly the day goes for you when you are at work. If you are genuinely interested in what you do, then chances are that the day goes quickly. You may get absorbed in the work you are doing and feel ‘in flow’ often throughout your week. But, if you find yourself constantly clock-watching, popping out for a coffee or finding any other excuse to escape your work, perhaps you aren’t in the right line of work.”

Role Flexibility

“The opportunity to schedule where and when we work is a key factor for many employees when determining what makes a job a ‘good job’. Flexibility has always been one of the most important factors for many employees, but since the beginning of the pandemic, this criterion has become more important for a greater proportion of employees as people have become used to choosing when and from where they work, since working from home.

“Employers will need to consider how they manage employee expectations in regard to flexible work practices in order to retain quality staff going forward.”

Right Fit Work Culture

“Another major criterion when assessing what makes a ‘good job’ is work culture and whether it is the right fit for their personality. However, not every employee is looking for the same type of culture, so we can’t assume that what works for one person will also work for another.

“Whilst one employee might be looking for a collaborative, friendly and social work environment, this may not be the case for everyone. Another employee may instead find this type of culture distracts them from their work and may be seeking a work environment where employees are less social and only focus on completing tasks and achieving results.

“The key is for employees to understand their own personality types and what work environment they will thrive in when assessing the next opportunity.”

Adequate Compensation

“A ‘good job’ for many employees doesn’t necessarily mean a high income. Many employees will be very content in a role provided that they feel that they are compensated adequately for their efforts.

“However, in many cases, employees will be happy to receive a lower income if other key factors are met such as; the opportunity to do personally meaningful work, to contribute to society and to get satisfaction from their work.”

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.