Unix: Why you love (or don’t love) your job

The things that make you love a job or drive you to thinking about moving on may have less to do with how much you earn than whether you look forward to Monday morning.

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Much more than that and I’d need some inducement to make up for the extra time and expense. But not all commutes are created equal. An hour of stop and go on the local thoroughfare is not the same as an hour of driving past cornfields and lakes. My most enjoyable commute took just over an hour but involved a free bus to the ferry, a ferry across the bay and then a half mile walk from the ferry to my office. I quickly found myself sitting with a group of friends who shared coffee and conversation, but also found that the commute provided some of my best “think time”.

  • Good benefits – Good paid benefits (medical and leave) are essential.
  • Good salary – I need to earn enough to live comfortably and enjoy my leisure time. While more is always better, most of us would likely give us some salary for other options that make our jobs more rewarding.
  • Some degree of job security – I don’t believe that total job security is even possible, but I need to believe that my job is fairly secure.

    Fair

    For me, the fair category includes:

    • reasonable expectations – your employer should have reasonable expectations and should be clear about what those expectations are
    • clarity about expectations and what leads to success --- your employer should be clear about what constitutes success in their eyes and the criteria that you will be measured against
    • incentives to learn – your employer should invest in your skills development
    • sensible amount of pressure – your employer should exert a fair amount of pressure
    • sufficient autonomy – you should have enough autonomy that you don’t feel micromanaged
    • minimal office politics – you should not feel that you have to get wrapped up in office politics, other peoples’ turf wars
    • good communications -- including being informed about what's going on beyond your local group
    • honesty and trust – you should expect to be treated with honesty and to be trusted
    • good tools – you should expect to be provided with fairly up-to-date equipment -- laptops, phones and applications

    Nice to Haves

    The “nice to have” category for me includes:

    • an attractive workspace
    • free parking
    • pleasant office space with sunlight
    • opportunities to work on new projects
    • a boss who actually provides leadership and can maybe even teach you something (see http://www.itworld.com/management-amp-strategy/61142/unix-sysadmins-and-...)
    • a sense that your skills bring add something to your team’s skill set. Years ago, someone tried to set me straight by telling me that no one is irreplaceable. Decades later, I’m convinced that they were right, but I’ve also seen many people who came really close. I’ve also noticed that being irreplaceable isn’t always a good thing.
  • Photo Credit: 

     flickr / .reid

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