Wednesday, January 12, 2011

#3- Get a job I love

Despite my complaining about winter and the need for a home office, if you have been reading for the last couple months you might be able to tell I have found a job I love. (You can read about some of my Career Girl related posts here.) I was hesitant to say I loved the job because you have to get to know the job a little before you can tell if it is love.

You know how people are always saying to find your passion and then find a way to make it your job and then life will be great and it will never feel like you are at work?  I think that is a lie for 90% of the population.  Because everything has a downside.  I love traveling, but if I had a job that was nothing but travel I would hate it.  I would feel like I had no home and would never be able to get into a comfortable routine or schedule.  I love books, but if I was an editor I would hate when I let mistakes slip through, if I was a writer I would get writers block and I would hate when people criticize what I write, and if I worked at Barnes and Noble I am sure I would get frustrated with demanding customers sometimes.  You are not going to love everything all the time.  So don't keep looking for that perfect job where you are just happy all the time.  But it is possible to find a job you love and a place you enjoying going most everyday.

Why do I love my job?

My boss- this can make or break a job.  I have worked for male bosses and female bosses.  I have worked for old bosses and young bosses.  I have worked for micro-managers and non-managing bosses.  None of that matters.  What does matter is that you have a boss that cares.  Every good boss I have had cares about the team.  They put effort and energy into building the team.  Every good boss I have had cares about my future.  Every good boss I have had has been open and honest.  Every good boss I have had is smart and easy to look up to.  My current boss fits all of these and is just great to work for.

My team- This is the most team oriented environment I have ever worked in.  It has to be.  We build and maintain a huge website and you have to have a lot of people working together to make that happen.  We have Happy Hours every Thursday and while I can't go often, I do go when I can.  We went paintballing together.  I am going speed dating with my boss and some other co-workers on Saturday.  We have monthly birthday celebrations and big events like Casino Night or the Comedy Night.  They even rented out this new upscale bowling alley for our Christmas celebration.  Not just a private room, the whole thing- they shut down to the public and we had the whole place to ourselves with free food and an open bar.  All these events lead to a great team atmosphere.  We have our core smaller team but are also connected to the other teams in our organization through these events and it really does make a huge difference.

Recognition- I have only been in this position 8 months but in that time I have received a Peer Recognition award, been invited to a fancy celebration dinner, and got two small financial "bonuses" for my work.  I have worked my butt off and have been especially stressed over the last 3 months, but these bits of recognition help so much.  Even just an encouraging email recognizing the effort you put in to something (which I get now and then) is so rewarding and just what you need to keep going when you are stressed to the max.

There is always something to do and I enjoy what I do- Some positions can get boring.  You are given work that you can finish in 3 hours but you find a way to make it last 8.  You are given no direction.  You never see the things you worked on implemented.  You feel like some things are just busy work.  It can get frustrating.  In this position what I do matters (almost too much) and if I don't get it done it is not ok. Now I don't jump up and down and say "Yay I get to make this awesome spreadsheet today!" But I always feel challenged and use my brain everyday and I love that.  The only downside I've discovered is the feeling that I am never caught up!  I hate that part, but my boss tells me I just have to let that go and it's ok because everyone feels that way.

I am good at what I do- Even though I am still in the learning stages on some things, this position is a good fit for me.  I get to use my creativity.  I am working on web functionality, design and navigation and making sure we have the content a customer is looking for. I am developing more efficient processes and procedures.  I get to use my analytical, problem solving and creative skills in this role and I love it!

Flexible Work Schedules- We are able to work from home if we need to.  We don't have to be there at a certain time each morning.  We don't clock in and clock out or even really watch the clock at all (except to make sure we are in the right meeting room at the right time).  We don't have to ask to go to lunch or if we can work though lunch.  We just work when we work best and where we work best.  There is so much work to be done and so many meetings it would be impossible to take advantage of this situation.  If you were not working, I think it would be noticed fairly quickly.  But I love the trust that this setup implies!

The Company-  I'm not going to try to hide who I work for because it would be pretty easy for an internet sleuth to figure it out.  I'm not ashamed of anything I write on here about my work and I love the products!  If you didn't know, I work for Lenovo.  They are a Chinese computer manufacturer.  They make the ThinkPad and IdeaPad branded computers.  It is a very modern company and our offices reflect that.  I LOVE my ThinkPad X301 laptop I use for work.  It is so light and speedy and easy to use.  I never even would have considered this brand before I had this computer, but now I am in love.  When it comes time for a new computer I will most likely get a Lenovo.  It just feels good working for a good company whose products you can get behind.

So tell you love your job?  What makes you love or not love your job?  What's important to you?


Asia said...

Great post. I work at a store and I dont like it. I work in the produce section and in the back it is below 45 degrees (I hate the cold). I have limited hours of 10-12hrs a week which doesn't hardly help pay for school. But I do love my home based jobs that are listed on my blog site.

d said...

You are SO LUCKY. A job you can truly love is so elusive. I also tried the "work for your passion" route a number of years ago and you're right, it hindered rather than helped my passion. I thought I'd found a middle ground, but when some of the things you've mentioned changes - such as a boss, or a team environment - you realise how important it is. As a result I'm now miserable in a job I once really enjoyed, but I hope to be as lucky as you sooner rather than later. Wish me luck, and thanks for the post :)

Heidi said...

I love this post! I happen to love my job too, although it's quite a bit different than yours and has absolutely nothing to do with what I want to do after I graduate from school. I work as the nights and weekends receptionist at a medical office, and I love it. All of my coworkers are fun, friendly, and super helpful. I can study at work, since we are rarely busy, and I get to feel like I am making a (very, very) small contribution towards helping people.

I have to say, your blog is one of my favorites. I check it every single chance I get - same with the bookshelf blog! I really wish I could afford to buy more ooks because all the ones you recommend sound really good.

Keep up the awesome work!


Barefoot in the Park said...

great post! im currently in this quandry: i love my life, everything aside from my job and something's got to change!