Who Has the Perfect Job?

In our industry, the definition of a ‘perfect job’ varies greatly. There are many different roles and one’s idea of a perfect job might be the curse for someone else. Not everyone wants the ivory tower gig sitting in an office and directing all business flow while wearing a suit. Cut to someone that has worked their way up the corporate ladder and has held that goal in sight for many years. Others are content to do their 8-5, 7-4, 6-3 or even 6-6 working hours; as long as their personal goals, both short-term and long-term are met.

Some employees may be just as content to do their job and go home without having to worry about office issues or politics. Turned around, an office manager couldn’t fathom moving back into a role without the types of responsibilities that they now have. Who is right and who is wrong? Do we look down upon a person who is content to remain where they are for the rest of their lives? Is that really a career, or just a job? How about if they just want to be the best at what they do? When trying to determine best fits in a company or office, managers (and recruiters) try to identify the two types of people: 1) the ones who will give 110% and do what
is expected from them and then some, and 2) the ones who have that desire; that thirst for knowledge, and the ambition to move up in ranks in order to progress further in their career.

We have tried to make managers (especially new managers) understand that personalities are different from person to person and we cannot expect the same outcome for everyone. That being stated, we can try to identify the strengths and work habits of everyone on the team. While it sounds great to have a company where every single person wants to move up, but it isn’t realistic or practical. We need to have the ones who want to be the best darn warehouseperson in town, as well as ones who are very content in being known as the go-to person on the sales desk. Fortunately, they have already identified their forté and know for a fact that moving into an outside sales role isn’t the right move for them in their career. The same goes for an outside salesperson who doesn’t want to move up to a manager’s role. In their minds, why should they give up the freedom, and sometimes the economics in dealing with everyday issues ranging from how to increase profit margins to decreasing GP problems to employee’s psychological and home struggles?

While managers are supposed to identify those that have the talents to move up, they also need to recognize that some are destined to remain where they are. It is now their duty to ensure that proper training, competitive pay, etc. are now their focus for retaining these individuals. These are the ones that have the perfect job. Identifying those that have the necessary aptitudes and talents to move up are the key to success. But taking the wrong person out of their comfort zone can result in a two-way disaster. A good example was taking a 10-year veteran driver who knew products fairly well and was promoted to an inside sales role. This was an older, smart, well-liked person with a thick accent. He was excited to move up in the ranks. In a short period of time, however, customers grew frustrated with the lack of exuberance and speed; and the accent also didn’t help him much, either. Clients handled the situation for as long as they could but many finally went to the manager with ultimatums. After only a few short months, with few options, this tenured employee was discharged as his previous role had been already filled. Whose fault was it? Was it the employee who really tried hard but couldn’t do anything about his speech and speed? How about the young manager who placed him in that role without thinking things through?

In a recent Randstad World of Work survey, it was revealed that eighty-three percent of U.S. adults wouldn’t change their personal definition of the perfect job once the economy improves. While most wouldn’t change their description, it should come as no surprise that the most important attributes listed by Americans are good pay (81%), interesting and challenging work (66%) and health insurance (65%).

While the economy has impacted many Americans’ workloads, morale and paychecks, surprisingly 31% say that in their perfect job, they would have more responsibility than they currently have, while just 6% would want less responsibility. Men (36%) and GenY (43%) respondents are the most eager for a higher workload. Finally, when asked what would best describe the type of work they would be doing in their perfect job, 39% report they would be doing the same thing.

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