What do you want from work

What’s important to you at work? That’s a question that everyone should think about. As a parent of kids who will eventually work, I want them to already start thinking about that. I hate the question ‘what do you want to do when you grow up’ because it requires a specific, static answer that implies you can never change. And it implies that you’re supposed to make a choice now that will affect the rest of your life. Someone asked my kids that recently and it made me think deeply about that question.

unicorn from pinterest

Finding a great job is like finding a unicorn!

I do think it’s important to ask a question that speaks to what TYPE of work life do you want….inside? outside? Office? Teaching? Working with your hands, making things? Computer? Coding detail? Working with people? By yourself? Driving with a commute? Driving daily at work (like UPS)? Medical professional? Science? Cooking? Outside of the US? Travel? Benefits? Public? Private? Behind the scenes or in front? Sales? Service? These questions could go for days…

Those are questions I wish I had thought about as a kid. So I’m hoping I can encourage my boys to think like that as they are getting older, finding what they like to do and how they want to grow that interest into a job/career. I know now that there are so many things that are important to me that I didn’t even realize when I was 20! Here are a few things that I know to be unshakably true…

I need a mix of quiet and loud. I need a role with both autonomy and teamwork. I need to work with others who value teamwork and support each other. I need a position that understands the need for flexibile schedules. I need to know that all team members are treated equally in term of expectations, work loads, and opportunities. I need to know all team members are expected to show up and contribute. Excellence and competence should be rewarded… apathy and dysfunction should be eliminated, or at least dealt with, but never ignored. I also want to do something that’s meaningful and contribute. I don’t want to work with blood. I don’t want to work with coding. I need to be creative. I expect others to be responsive. And for the love of God, do not send me an IM if I am in the office next to you. As I told my kids as toddlers…”use your words” and your feet…walk 10 steps and say “hey, wanna go to lunch?” like a human.

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