Whether buying a brand new computer or a new car, it's pretty much a given that a faster, smarter, sleeker model will be out soon to surpass the top-of-the-line model you just bought.
Thanks to the mindset that no matter how good we have it, something better is always just around the corner, it's little wonder so many of us have trouble with the concept of "wanting what we already have."
This certainly applies to jobs as well. How many of us believe we already have our "dream job" compared to the number of unsatisfied workers who are certain that the job of their dreams is just around the corner? Here are eight signs you're in the right job right now:
1. You look forward to your day. You may not bound out of bed in the morning, but you're energized all the same when it comes to thinking about what is in store, what you'll be working on and how you'll meet the challenges of the day.
2. Time flies during work hours. If you look up at the clock at some point and are shocked to realize how fast the day has gone by, you're likely doing something you love. (On the other hand, if you've been clock watching and the hours are dragging on, you likely are not.)
3. You know you're putting your talents to work. You're firing on all cylinders knowing that you're doing what you love and loving what you do. This kind of fulfillment only happens when your job makes the best use of your unique skill sets and personal strengths.
4. The ups outweigh the downs. No job on the planet is without its bad days and, yes, its downsides. But you're in your dream job when you know there are far more highs than lows.
5. You really like the people you work with. Being surrounded by good people can make a mundane job great (watch The Office). When you're part of a group that clicks, you often have so much fun you almost don't care about the job -- only that you love doing it.
6. You're able to contribute. Whether the contribution is big or small, you are giving more than is expected of you and it feels good, your mind is stimulated and you're generating ideas that make your workplace a better and more enjoyable place for everyone to be.
7. You thrive on learning and growing. Above all, finding out new things, meeting new people, experiencing new places and taking on new challenges sustain your happiness. Whether we are 18 or 80, our dream job is found in a place that nurtures our need to grow.
8. You're proud of what you do. When someone asks what you do for a living, you passionately reply about the nature of your work, the company you work for and how much they care about their people, the quality of their products, their customer relationships and their community. If, instead, you use it as an opportunity to do more griping than gushing about work, you might want to dust off your resumé and find a job that's a better fit for you.
-- With reporting by Barbara Chabai
John McFerran, PhD, F.CHRP, is managing director of Boyden Global Executive Search. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Look Before You Leap
Interviewing for what you hope turns out to be your "dream job?" Although there is no surefire way to know if you've found the perfect career match until you're immersed in the culture, here are a few tips that might get you closer to finding it:
1. Request an office tour. Note if the workspaces appear to be well spaced, clean and uncluttered. Is there a spot to eat lunch or take a break away from your desk? Do employees seem friendly? Do you have a good rapport with the boss?
2. Ask about benefits. For some people, having a great benefit package and fair pay is more valuable than poor benefits and a larger paycheque. Ask what other perks the company gives (i.e. flex time, employee discounts) outside of the usual benefits.
3. Imagine if the job will fit your lifestyle. Take a number of factors into account, from vacation time to expected commuting time. How much will earning a living here actually cost you (gas, parking)? If you need to take time off for an appointment, do you need to use sick time, personal time or are you free to not use either?
4. Ask yourself if this is the work you want to do. Will this type of work interest you? Does the level of responsibility meet your current abilities and support your future goals? Can you picture yourself doing this work for the next several years?