What makes up your perfect job?

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In a nondescript function room somewhere in Auckland, New Zealand with everyone at least 10 years older than me, I had my first realisation that what I wanted in my career was NOT the same as most other people. Just three years after leaving university I was so fortunate (also scared, out of my depth and on a huge learning curve) to manage a team of people and here I was on my first management course.

The room was airless, we were sitting behind tables in a U-shape  and it was probably in the afternoon of day two of the 3-day course. And here we were  looking at the drivers for us in our jobs. While others had company car, salary, corner office at the top of their list I had learning, helping people and making a difference.  And to be honest, very little has changed!

I find it fascinating that this experience, which lasted no more than 5 minutes and took place almost 15 years ago has remained imprinted on my brain. Perhaps that is why I’m keen to continue to talk about career success and how it is different for so many people.

Yet I’m not sure many people even *think* about what is important to them in a job role. The media will proclaim that you are even lucky to HAVE a job, so the ability to think about what would be even better is a luxury you can ill afford. But to me a life spent in a job you hate is not really a life at all, and I would rather a bit of naval gazing followed by some action to get you into a role that fits more with your drivers, what you care about and what you deem meaningful.

At the June Redefining Career Success Meet-Up we looked at the components of a career that those in attendance deemed important. The list we came up with was:

  • wheel of lifeScope and content of role
  • Recognition of you as a person (not a resource or number)
  • Hours (work/life balance)
  • Travel for work (variety of locations and people to work with)
  • Location of the office
  • Vision of organisation
  • Salary
  • Office environment
  • Sector
  • Ability to make a difference (and see the impact of your work)
  • Culture (Are holidays frowned upon or ok? What does it feel like to walk into the office?)
  • Your line manager
  • Learning (chance of growth, engaging with new information)
  • Meaningful relationships with colleagues

Perhaps you would add more. What would they be?


Everyone then chose the top 8 components from that list and added them to their circle and scored each component out of 10 for their current role. A quick (and perhaps dirty!) way to look at where you are now and what might need to change in any future role. It provides the foundation for your job searches, your conversations with future employers or your discussions with colleagues about how you can make where you are currently even better.


It is very easy to sit in a job feeling unfulfilled, unhappy and generally miserable but if you are going to make a change, you need to know where the current rub is and what you are looking for.

If you don’t know what you are looking for, how are you going to go out and get it?

So why not give this exercise a go yourself and let me know how you get on. And join us for our next Redefining Career Success Meet-up.

Eventbrite - Redefining Career Success - June 2015

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