Why I have the best job in the world – and you can too!
This could be the most valuable Wrestling Possums post I will ever write. It might shape your career, or change your path forever. It will help tell you whether you have, or could make your current job, the best job in the world. Or if it’s time to move on. It’s a must read, and please- pass it on to those you care about.
Before I tell you the five criteria to knowing whether your job is right for you, a story.
My girl friend at the time and I were considering buying a terrace home in Annandale, in Sydney’s Inner West. We viewed it at an evening inspection. Fairy lights were strung through the trees, twinkling away. Exquisite. We were captivated. We wanted it- badly!
Her Hungarian step-father arrived. He looked around. Took me aside. “Beware the pretty lights,” he warned. The building inspection proved him right- under the surface, the place was a wreck. Since then, whenever an opportunity has winked and seemed so attractive, I have remembered his words. “Beware the pretty lights.”
We have one shot at our careers. Making sure the roles we give our talents and energies to are in turn giving us what we need to thrive, be fulfilled, happy and realise our full potential is vital. Often we get jaded in our jobs, and easily tempted by a new potential role, offered with plenty of “pretty lights”. A new role seems like a chance for a fresh start, and a step up. But is it? Or can you actually improve key ingredients of your current role to make it right for you at this stage of your career.
There are five key criteria which make up the ideal job for me. Have a look at each. Score each out of ten. I consider a 7/10 or above an ideal score for each criteria. Give it a go. Does your score add up to 35/50 or above?:
1. Make A Difference: I must be making a valuable, positive, real difference. Am I contributing, bringing something fresh, helping improve things and helping make the business better?
Think about your current role….are you doing this? Can you do this more if you changed things a bit? Give it a score out of 10…1/10 being “NO- I NEVER MAKE A DIFFERENCE” and 10/10 being “ABSOLUTELY- I MAKE A MASSIVE DIFFERENCE EVERY DAY.” And do the same as you read on…give yourself a score after each point below…then add it up at the end…for a total score out of 50.
2. Learn and Grow: Doug Smollan, Chairman of South African based field marketing leader Smollan Group and one of the best huggers in business, answered my “Doug- what’s driven your success?” question with: “I stayed green. Don’t get ripe. You rot and fall off the tree. Ensure you are challenged and learning, and whatever you do brings you new personal growth.” Are you learning and growing in your role? Score it out of 10…
3. Have Fun: I have ‘worked’ very few days in my career. Instead, it’s been an adventure of challenge, success, failure and camaraderie, and been blessed by working with wonderful people, ‘pirates’ who love to laugh. What fun we’ve had! Would not swap it for the world despite all the damned hard work! A key to ‘fun’ is your relationship with your boss. (90% of the way you feel about your company is based on how you feel about your relationship with your boss). And then there’s your relationships with those around you. Do you love what you do? Is it basically fun? Or do you drag yourself out of bed to go to ‘work.’ 1/10 you hate it, 10/10 you absolutely love it.
4. Right For My Life: Does the role give you what you need for the other very important things in your life? Your family, health, interests, other passions? Are you able to have appropriate balance, whatever ‘balance’ means to you? A colleague rejects the ‘work-life’ balance concept. “It’s all my life,” she says, and can’t see value in differentiating between the two. Tom Moult, the Chairman of Ogilvy Australia, took on this massive role 9 months ago because in his previous role, where he was working part time, “I had a problem with my work-life balance: I was getting too much life!” Does your role give you what you need to lead a ‘whole’ life for you?
5. Rewards Are Fair: This is a tricky one, and to score this appropriately we need to really think hard about what we earn and how that ‘fits’ with the role and the industry. Are the rewards you receive fair and reasonable given what you contribute, and compared to industry standards? Here’s the rub- we can always earn 15-20% elsewhere. That’s not the point. Put that out of your mind. The issue is fairness and reasonableness in your current role.
So, what did you score? Did you get close to 35/50? If you’re below, don’t worry. It does not mean you’re in the wrong role. Often, with a little bit of thought and dialogue, you can improve the scores of the individual pillars quickly. I am a great believer in ‘better the devil you know.’ In other words, focus on making a good role GREAT, not jumping ship from a good role for a new role that might be great.
Remember- all five criteria don’t need to be ‘perfect’ or at 7/10 or above all the time. There will always be ups and downs- periods when it’s not fun, the balance is bad, you’re grinding not learning, and you’re underpaid etc. It’s the overall score I think about- is my role close to 35 or above, and are all five pillars healthy for most of the time?
Check out your scores, and see which key pillars you can improve… which you can make some changes to and help raise the score. If overall the fluctuations keep the average at over 7 out of 10, well- frankly- I reckon that’s a pretty special role. Keep it if you’ve got it. Or take it if what you’re being offered seems to be able to give you a 35 plus score….BUT…please…. beware the pretty lights….