What Makes a Job Not So Bad

Having an enjoyable job (or, if you are like me, a job that isn't so bad) is not just about what you do. After working in different corporate settings, and being as free spirited as I am, I realize that as long as I work with my mind and not my hands, I will define what I do as moving paper (as one person told me, in the "corporate" world, we move paper from one side of our desks to the other).

The secret to enjoying your job is enjoying the personal dynamics that you create. Having friends at work isn't the only thing that matters. Liking the people you work with, or at the very least respecting them and seeing them as competent, is just as important.

A few years ago, a job hunting website ran a commercial to advertise their services. The premise involved a person was working for a room full of monkeys. At the time I thought: how could it ever be that bad. And then I worked for a job where it seemed that everyone was literally flying by the seat of their pants, with no direction, and looking for someone else to blame. It really was like working in a room full of monkeys. I walked away from the situation afraid to work in my current industry, and afraid of working with people who wore suits in general.

Thankfully, that experience hasn't happened again. And currently, after learning when I was a teenager that "work" was just not going to ever be something I enjoy, I have made creating a positive relationship with the people I work with my goal. I am doing the typical things: seeking to create mentoring relationships that meet different goals, like finding someone to provide career advice, provide advice about balancing career and life, and provide advice about the networking aspect of my career. I think I am getting there. But the most important people I have found in the working world are not the people you would generally think would make or break your career, like a supervisor. The people who make work most bearable for me (and this is a lot coming from someone who feels her calling is to be a socialite) are the people who pass me in the hallways. This includes people who are have more experience than me and supervise me in projects. This includes people who work with the same people, and provide advice on how to deal with situations. This includes people who, when I see them, brighten my day. And this includes people I pass in the hallway who take a genuine interest in the lives of others, as I do too, to create a congenial atmosphere.

Have no illusions; no job is perfect no matter who you work for and work with, and I would never say otherwise. However, I have come to believe that the best metric of a good job is not what you actually do. Which is why I believe that you must give a situation time. The true metric is the relationships and competency you see around you, and I can say from experience that it makes a world of difference even within the same industry.