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A Job Worth Having

A Job Worth Having

Although people have obvious financial needs that are a large part of what makes them seek employment, the money side of work doesn’t go far in making a job feel like something worth doing. It won’t make up for a job that is frustrating, boring, inconsequential or just plain dull.

People want more from their work. They want to be able to meet some at least of their other needs: for good social contact, for a sense of achievement, a feeling they’re doing something worthwhile, the sense of belonging to an organization they can feel proud of — even a sense of self-worth and meaning in life.

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It’s a sad fact many people find themselves disappointed in this side of their working lives. Maybe they began a job with high hopes, but now feel let down. Perhaps the work hasn’t lived up to the promises they were made during the recruitment process. Maybe there’s been a change in management and the new style of doing things no longer provides the pleasure they used to get before.

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Here are some questions it’s worth pondering to help decide whether those all-important intangibles of corporate culture and working environment will match up to your needs. Whether you’re thinking of a new job, or wondering if what you have is still what you need, it’s worth taking a little time out to run through this simple checklist.

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  1. Is the organization a community where people share the task of producing something most of them truly believe in? Or is it a profit-obsessed, hard-driving labor-camp, where rewards are high because there’s really nothing else on offer?
  2. Can you see whether managers and leaders work through trust and respect? Many organizations are command-and-control cultures where there’s little or no trust given or expected. If you don’t trust others, that may not matter. If you do — and you want to be trusted in return — it will drive you crazy.
  3. If people talk about a “team environment,” check what this means. Does it mean people happily work together when they should, and apart when that is more appropriate? Or is it a crime to stand out in any way, and a hanging offense to express dissent or question the view of the ruling majority?
  4. Does work/life balance mean employees are allowed to find suitable ways to balance job and non-job demands? Are there options like home working, flexible hours, agreed absences for family needs? If you exercise these options, will you be marked down as “not committed?” Some organizations have schemes for time off when it’s needed — but heaven help you if you ever make use of them.
  5. How does the company assess performance? Do bosses get to know their staff and work with them to achieve the best they can offer? Or is it the dreaded annual appraisal — that pointless ritual where people are coldly judged and usually found wanting? Worst of all, do they say they’re “results-oriented” and mean that you either “make the numbers” or make your way out of the building as quietly as possible?
  6. How all-pervasive are corporate politics? You won’t find an organization with none — that’s too much to expect — but the impact of politics varies from about what you would expect in any group of people to something that strongly resembles Soviet Russia under Stalin. Academic jobs are typically the most political of all.
  7. What does “commitment” mean? Is it being involved, loyal and giving an honest day’s work in return for your pay? Or does it mean selling your body, mind and soul to the corporation and never questioning any demands it places on you?

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. Nor am I suggesting that you should seek a particular type of company to work for. One that would drive me insane might be exactly what suits you best. Even the most macho and demanding organizations have their admirers who wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. All that matters is that you should go into a job with your eyes and mind open, knowing what to expect and ready to work in that environment as happily as you can.

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Adrian Savage is an Englishman and a retired business executive who lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his serious thoughts most days at Slow Leadership, the site for anyone who wants to bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership; and his crazier ones at The Coyote Within.

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them in 7 Simple Steps

Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or even this time next year? These places are your goal destinations and although you might know that you don’t want to be standing still in the same place as you are now, it’s not always easy to identify what your real goals are.

Many people think that setting a goal destination is having a dream that is there in the far distant future but will never be attained. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy because of two things:

Firstly, that the goal isn’t specifically defined enough in the first place; and secondly, it remains a remote dream waiting for action which is never taken.

Defining your goal destination is something that you need to take some time to think carefully about. The following steps on how to plan your life goals should get you started on a journey to your destination:

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1. Make a list of your goal destinations

Goal destinations are the things that are important to you. Another word for them would be ambitions, but ambitions sound like something which outside of your grasp, whereas goal destinations are certainly achievable if you are willing to put in the effort working towards them.

So what do you really want to do with your life? What are the main things that you would like to accomplish with your life? What is it that you would really regret not doing if you suddenly found you had a limited amount of time left on the earth?

Each of these things is a goal. Define each goal destination in one sentence.

If any of these goals is a stepping stone to another one of the goals, take it off this list as it isn’t a goal destination.

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2. Think about the time frame to have the goal accomplished

This is where the 5 year, 10 year, next year plan comes into it.

Some goals will have a “shelf life” because of age, health, finance, etc, whereas others will be up to you as to when you would like to achieve them by.

3. Write down your goals clearly

Write each goal destination at the top of a new piece of paper.

For each goal, write down what is it that you need and don’t have now that will allow you achieve that goal. This could be some kind of education, career change, finance, a new skill, etc. Any “stepping stone” goals you removed will fit into this exercise. If any of these smaller “goals” have sub-goals, go through the same process with these so that you have precise action points to work with.

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4. Write down what you need to do for each goal

Under each item listed, write down the things that you will need to do in order to complete each of the steps required to complete the goal. 

These items will become a check-list. They are a tangible way of checking how you are progressing towards reaching your goal destinations. A record of your success!

5. Write down your timeframe with specific and realistic dates

Using the time frames you created, on each goal destination sheet write down the year in which you will complete the goal by.

For any goal which has no fixed completion date, think about when you would like to have accomplished it by and use that as your destination date.

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Work within the time frames for each goal destination, make a note of realistic dates by which you will complete each of the small steps.

6. Schedule your to-dos

Now take an overview of all your goal destinations and make a schedule of what you need to do this week, this month, this year – in order to progress along the road towards your goal destinations.

Write these action points on a schedule so that you have definite dates on which to do things.

7. Review your progress

At the end of the year, review what you have done this year, mark things off the check-lists for each goal destination and write up the schedule with the action points you need for the next year.

Although it may take you several years to, for example, get the promotion you desire because you first need to get the MBA which means getting a job with more money to allow you to finance a part-time degree course, you will ultimately be successful in achieving your goal destination because you have planned out not only what you want, but how to get it, and have been pro-active towards achieving it.

Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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