THE "PERFECT" JOB

Is there any such thing as the "Perfect" job? Does it only happen for a lucky few?

IS THERE A "PERFECT" JOB?

I know that there are people out there who are happily ensconsced in their perfect job, but when I've been asked if I thought there was a "perfect" job for me I would always answer "No". I would tell you that there is no such thing as the "Perfect" job and that I'd be naive to believe any such entity existed. The funny thing is that, despite my pragmatism, I still fall into the trap of imagining that each new job I start will be that elusive unicorn - perfection at last.

DISILLUSIONMENT

Every time I climb on the back of that unicorn and get ready to ride off into the sunset of eternally employed bliss, I am thrown for a loop and reality comes crashing in. There is always a fly in the ointment isn't there? Some jobs start well and then the promised pay rises never happen, or the boss turns out to be a tyrant, or (as with one boss I had) they get sick and never turn up for work, or a new work colleague arrives with a major personality clash, or the hours and days change to less appealing ones, or the job just gets boring and mundane, or....... the list goes on.

The question for me always comes down to: How long do I persevere? Is it worth sticking with a job because it is safer than quitting? Is it worth staying in the hope things will eventually get better? Is it worth hanging in there because it ensures a fortnightly pay cheque? But the biggest question is: What do I do if I resign?


WHAT IF I QUIT?

When you're young it's easy to move on to something new. Jobs are plentiful and we have the optimism that is inherent in our 20s and 30s. If something new was on the horizon, I was always ready for a change of scenery and I always expected that the next job would be bigger and better than the one that I was leaving behind.

Then my 40s came along and I settled into a job that I thought was ideal, but over time it gradually turned into a boring and soul sucking drudge and I pulled the pin and took the risk that there was something else out there. Looking for a new job at 50+ was daunting, but rewarding too, when I found a new position that seemed ideal. But, lately i
t seems that the "Perfect" job I found a few years ago is certainly not as "Perfect" as I'd hoped - and some of it has been downright draining. Now the question in the back of my mind is: What happens with my current job turning out to be less than I'd hoped for - and not that unicorn perfect position I'd dreamed of after all? Should I start looking around for something else?

I REALLY DON'T WANT TO START AGAIN

I turned 56 on the weekend - Wow! Mid fifties has rolled around and I'm no Spring chicken anymore. I may not be a sprightly 30 year old, but I still have a decade or more of working life ahead of me (unless I want to be living under a bridge and eating cat food in my old age!) So, do I stay where it's safe, or do I risk change again? Maybe the question instead should be: How do I make this almost-perfect job work for me?

We can choose how we respond to what life throws at us - Bear Grylls

MAKING MY OWN "PERFECTION"

I guess employment is a bit like marriage - there are good times and bad times. I always believe the good times have to outweigh the bad times or why would we keep doing it? So far there are still enough good times to keep me rolling along. I need to get the whole idea of "Perfect" out of my head and start being realistic about where I am. I have great pay, a great work/life balance, a great workplace, and job security. Do I really want to throw that away?

The answer to that question is "No" and what I finally twigged to is that it's my responsibility to make the changes that will help me stay where I am and stay happy at the same time. I needed to stop looking for other people to change or to see things my way. I needed to put some things in place to make the job work for me.

Stepping up and taking responsibility can be tough, I risked losing a good job by asking for some changes, but at the same time nothing will change without a bit of risk taking. I looked at what needed to change for me to stay in the job (and also stay sane) and then figured out how to sell these to my boss in a way that he would be happy to get on board with. I came up with a game plan and waited for a good time and then laid it all out.


THE FUTURE

Nothing will change overnight - it will take several weeks to put the changes I've suggested into place, but now that I have a plan and I've stepped up and taken responsibility for what I need, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I think my boss actually appreciated the fact that I was willing to think things out and come up with a workable solution. It has actually turned out much more positively than I expected - and I think my No Complaining Challenge factored into it too - once I stopped whinging and started being proactive, things began turning around. It's all about choosing my attitude and making the best of what I have and things are definitely looking up.

Is there any such thing as the "Perfect" job? Does it only happen for a lucky few?

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37 comments

  1. After way too long in some soul sucking but financially lucrative roles, I'm now working part time for someone I like, trust & respect. It has it's shitty times (like now), but that's largely because I tend to flit between roles and projects. My rule of thumb now is as long as there are more ok days than flat out bad ones & as long as I have my Fridays to write, I'll keep going. Like a marriage it won't be good all the time, but like a marriage we know when our deal breakers have been triggered - the question is then whether or not to do anything about it.

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    1. You sound exactly like me Jo - a history of good and bad and certainly the ability to recognize a soul sucking job when you're in one! I think where I am now is pretty great - I just needed to find a way to handle the not so great stuff.

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  2. Hi, Leanne - I continue to admire you positive, proactive, 'choose your attitude' style. I look forward to reading how these changes turn out. Happy birthday ...hope it was great!

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    1. Thanks so much Donna - I really want to be able to keep this job and I also needed to see that the answer was in my hands - it's about not giving your power away to other people I guess. And yes I had a lovely birthday thank you x

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  3. This is wonderful! Having a plan is such an important first step. Good for you!

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    1. I can't believe it took me so long to wake up to the fact that I had some say in the matter Shari!

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  4. I am in the process right now of looking for my perfect job. Well actually a job :-) but… i've had so many friends warned me away from certain position saying "oh you would hate that!"
    I always think not so fast friends :-)
    There is no perfect. What is perfect for me now looks different then it might have six months ago. I loved this post for that reason.

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    1. I was actually warned about the job I'm in Carla - and the warnings were right! But that doesn't mean you can't turn things around and make them work for you. I really hope you find something that is a good balance for you too x

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  5. Hi Leanne, I enjoyed this as I enjoy all your posts. Although I'm passed the "job-seeker" days, as an author I spend my days loving the job / hating the job / or not having time to do either. Have a great week. Something Beautiful.

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    1. I think we can often read someone else's story and still find things to apply to our own life Shirley - that's part of being older and wiser isn't it?

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  6. Good for you! Trying to change others just never works. Presenting a plan that makes work life positive to your boss is fantastic.Here is a story: About 60 years ago my Mother's favorite cousin was a nurse working for a busy NYC doctors' office. She suggested organizational changes that would make the office run more smoothly. Not only did it work but she and her doctors patented the process and sold it! Very happy ending for all. Moral of my story is who knows what the plans you implement may result.

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    1. I don't think I'll be doing anything that could be patented Haralee - but I am working out how to manage my work/life balance and the concept of not working in an environment that will make me miserable until I can finally retire. Some people might be able to cope with that, but I just don't want that sort of stress in my life for the next decade!

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  7. I think the reshaping of the "perfect" definition is a great start. If you've taken the step of identifying the specifics of dissatisfaction, you're right, you can move forward with a plan.

    Good luck, I've been enjoying your stories of mindful living.

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    1. Thanks Susan - I think the light bulb moment for me was realizing that if change was needed, then it was me that was going to have to instigate it. Once I got my head around that, then it was really a no-brainer!

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  8. Well done, Leanne! I firmly believe that attitude can change everything. I hope your changes bring back your unicorn! :)

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    1. I want that unicorn soooo badly Diane - after 35 years of employment, I think I must be due for a ride :)

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  9. Amen to this. I thought I had the perfect job. It was something meaningful, something I enjoyed and it paid good. I loved it for the first 19 1/2 years. Over the the last 18 months (because of new administrators) it has gone from heaven to the other place. I am the last of my generation and let's the say the people they have replaced the others with are pretty lazy and arrogant to say the least. I have decided to when the school year is over in June, I am history. I found that I feel better knowing that I have an exit plan in place and that the job is only a temp deal for me at this point.

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    1. I think getting 20 years out of a job these days is pretty darn amazing - and a great reflection on you as a person and employee. It's always a shame when the work environment changes for the worse and makes staying impossible. I hope something else pops up to move onto next year - who knows what's around the corner?

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  10. I turn 56 in two more days, so I guess I can say...."You're older than I am!" LOL. I've found there is not "perfect" job. I worked for the same company for 25 years and there were times I loved my job and times I've hated it. Times I loved my boss and times I hated my boss. I found that the relationships that I have with the people I work with are the most important because they can either make a bad boss bearable or make it even worse.

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    1. Great co-workers can certainly make a job worth sticking out Jennifer. I have found that one horrible/needy co-worker can colour the whole environment though. I stuck it out with one for six years and then gave up and moved on.
      PS Happy Birthday for the 9th (?) and now I feel old :)

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  11. Hi Leanne! Happy Belated Birthday!!! And if everything I've been reading about Positive Aging is true (and I sure hope so because I've just written a book about it :-) ) then you are correct about working at least another 10+ years. The challenge is turning it into something that fit well for you and it sounds to me that you've taken steps to do just that. As you say in the quote, you can't always change the circumstances but you can adjust the way you see it. If you can find pockets of happiness and pleasure in the work it may just sound like a brand new job anyway. I would never advise anyone to stay in a job they hate...but you don't sound that way. I'm guessing there is a way "through" this experience that turns out well. ~Kathy

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    1. Hi Kathy - thanks for the belated birthday wishes - I had a lovely day. You are right about finding a good balance - nothing in life is perfect, but there is good if we look for it - or work to find a way to re-discover it. I don't intend to spend the next 10 years being miserable in the hope of having a slightly better retirement - life is too short!

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  12. What a breakthrough, there is a terrific book written by my friend Suzie St George "The Good Work book" that touches on the very points you make about finding your own solutions and making the best of any type of work (I have oversimplified the message but you get the drift I am sure.

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    1. I wish I'd read her book - it might have made figuring all this out a bit easier! It's a great feeling having set a plan into motion and having all the contingencies addressed - it might still implode but I feel like I've been proactive instead of reactive!

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  13. I'm very impressed Leanne. I believe many people stay miserably where they are or quit in hot pursuit of the next great thing. Few people figure out how to improve the current situation and then have the courage to make it happen. I'm 56 also, and we are at a strange period in our careers where it's difficult to start over, but too early to just "stick it out" until retirement. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sure it will provide inspiration to others in a similar situation.

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    1. It's interesting isn't it Christie - being old and young at the same time? I feel exactly the same way - I don't want to quit and start again - I know I could and it would be okay but I'd rather work with what I've got and see if I can make it better first before bailing.

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  14. This is something I struggled with recently Leanne, as you know. In reality, the job I had should have been perfect. Although it wasn't quite enough $, it was part time so gave me heaps of time for other stuff, I could cruise along and practically do it in my sleep, and my boss was minimally engaged in what I did and was an hour or two away.

    But, I was bored. Seriously unfulfilled mentally. And did I mention I was bored?

    I thought that I could work in a job that offered minimal stimulation but paid okay and that I'd get the stimulation from my writing. I think the latter was right as I'm struggling to find the brainspace to blog much in my down-time with the new fulltime job, but I'm not sure I'm the sort of person who can 'just' do a job for the money.

    I'm conscious that I get bored pretty easily and in a past life I did lots of different project management gigs in government. It was perfect.... I was basically with the same employer but legitimately changed jobs every year or two.

    This current position is full time but only a one-year contract. I decided at the time that would be okay as I thought I might be bored by then anyway. Having said that perhaps THIS job (more stimulating than the last and a more strategic level) would be something I could do part-time longer term....

    ie. who knows?! :-)

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    1. I'm the same when it comes to getting bored Deb - I've worked in jobs where I've sat for days every week with nothing much to do - people would say "read a book" or "do a hobby" but that's not what going to work is for me - I have to be engaged and (although I like quite spots) I need to be busy or I go stir crazy.
      It is soooo hard to find the right balance - and to find good people to work with isn't it? I really hope yours morphs into a lovely part-time position at the end of your 12 month contract - it would be a win/win.

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  15. Leanne, I had a pretty perfect job in my 30s for 7 years. Then a new hire ruined it. I didn't have the energy to "overcome" because my sister was dying, so I bowed out. I ended up doing a complete career switch that turned out very well, but still ... it was a stressful time.

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    1. Mine was the same in my 40's Jean - great job (a boss with a god complex but that wa okay) then the narcissitic co-worker started and the drama that I listened to all day wore very thin. I quit but I seem to find jobs where there is someone difficult in the mix - maybe I attract them???

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  16. I really appreciate the way you took a long look at your circumstances, weighed the pros and cons, and came up with a proactive plan for improving things, Leanne. There is not "perfect" anything, and sometimes it seems we spend so much time trying to find perfect that we miss what is really good. Your "no complaining" challenge is fantastic, too. What we talk about and think about impacts us far more than we realize. I hope this job remains a good thing and continues to get even better for you! And happy birthday!

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    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement (and birthday wishes) Wendy. I'm really quite proud of the fact that I've come up with a way to bring about positive change at work. I've already seen some of it falling into place and I'm really looking forward to seeing what next year holds for me.

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  17. The perfect job doesn't really exist. I think you got it right when you said that perhaps you should work to make the changes to make the job more right for you. You are also right that no one is going to make those changes for you. I did that several times, weaving my way onto committees that would stretch me and be more interesting, switching classes when I got bored etc. Ultimately, I chose to leave my job. Starting over was not and is not easy, but it was the right thing for me. I make less money but am much happier and less stressed.

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    1. I've changed jobs a few times for different reasons Michele and sometimes that was the only way to maintain the incentive to get up and go to work each morning! With this job there were so many good parts that I was really reluctant to walk away from it - unless it was the last straw. I'm hoping that reducing my hours, sharing the load, and taking myself out of the drama will be the answer - fingers crossed!

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  18. I agree with you Leanne, the perfect job is elusive. You seem to know what you want and how to make it work for you, so hang in there! Your positivity always shines through and I love reading your blog because of it. Thanks too for sharing at Blogger’s Pit Stop.

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  19. Perfect is an interesting term. Does anything achieve perfection? Is perfection simply a frame of mind?

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  20. Hi Leanne,
    By definition, there is no such thing as perfect.
    I think things go in waves. Ride them and stick it out until things go smoother.
    I like the part where you say to make your own perfection.
    Janice

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