Last year, I was talking to a friend of mine who was in his first job after university, and was really not enjoying it. His company managed him badly, making him spend time on pointless activities and downplaying his real skills, and he felt like going to work was having no real effect on anything. He sent me a link to this video - a clip of an aquarium trainer and a walrus dancing together to Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal - and he said: I want to enjoy my job like she enjoys hers. That in itself is fine, but what he said after that was not. He asked me if I thought it was possible that he would ever have a job that he enjoyed like that. He wasn't even sure that that sort of job existed. Do other people have fun at other companies?
A while back, I wrote a long post about implementing ideas, but there was one thing I said in there that I think is worth repeating. If your job is your only source of income, you will start to consider it essential to your survival, and you will be less and less inclined to consider leaving it. You become tied to your job, no matter how unpleasant it becomes, and you start accepting more downsides because you feel that nothing would be as bad as being left out in the cold.
In this post, I want to say two things. Firstly, if your job sucks, leave it. You will find another one. If you don't find one immediately, you won't die - something will turn up in the end. And who knows, it may actually turn out that being truly adrift might make you realise what you actually want to be doing with yourself. But I promise you, nothing that happens to you will be worse than the soul-destroying grind that is going in to an unrewarding job where you feel you are making no difference, where you just take the corporate shafting without complaint, because you're worried about not getting a paycheque.
The second thing I want to say is to my friend from the first paragraph. Yes, there are jobs that are genuinely enjoyable.
- It is possible to have a job which you look forward to going to in the morning, and which leaves you satisfied that you are getting real stuff done, and making a real difference.
- There are companies that listen to their employees, where everybody can actually make a difference and be heard if they have an opinion, or want to be part of the process.
- There are bosses that guide you to work more productively on tasks that are suited to your abilities, instead of "managing" you as a "resource" that can be applied to some situation in the hopes that it will go away.
- There are companies whose management realise that the small cost of keeping you happy, and making your work environment a pleasant place to spend time, is more than made up for by the enthusiasm you have for the products and work which you do, and that you will be more productive and a better employee as a result.
On a completely unrelated note, there are some openings available at SynthaSite, where I work. The one which I want to talk about is the Systems and Service Engineer position. This is actually the position I currently fill at SynthaSite - they liked me so much that they're hiring two more just like me. The job-spec linked above actually describes the position quite well, and Neil also describes it pretty well, so I won't try to outdo either of them. Suffice it to say that I have never enjoyed my job more, the work is exciting, and the problems are always changing and interesting. Finally, I think one of the most attractive things about working for SynthaSite for me is that it truly fits into the "world wide" part of the web. This is not a small company that is only relevant to one part of the world. We have a global userbase, and even our offices stretch 16000km across borders. Not a month ago I got back from visiting our San Francisco offices - something that we, as employees, will have the opportunity to do once a year. This new, global perspective on things is really exciting to me in a way I find it hard to convey.
To conclude, if you're interested and fit our requirements, please: send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org (with a cover-letter telling us why you think you're good for the job). We'd love to hear from you.