What do you want out of your ideal job? Surely you’ve asked yourself the question, whether you’re just before starting your career or you are already looking back at a considerable curriculum vitae. Is it money? Is it the safety of knowing how your day-to-day life is going to look like?
If you’re born into Generation Y or Z in the Western world, you probably don’t care too much about these things. Surely, money is important, but it comes with the job anyway. Maybe you are fortunate enough to have enjoyed a good education, international experience and plenty of job opportunities. Possibly, you even have an inheritance to look forward to, which your parents and grandparents worked hard for. This means, you got a place to live, food, clothing, safety and money which cover your basic physiological and safety needs. What a luxury, indeed!
So, what’s next on Maslow’s hierarchy? Love and belonging. Unlike generations before us, we are not willing to work hours without end, in fear of losing our job if we don’t. We value our time with family and friends, and our private life is just as, if not more important than our professional life.
We want the option of working from home, we expect work-life balance, and we demand flexibility from our employer, just as the employer demands it from us. In return, we are motivated and do our best. Companies start to understand this and technology is on our side enabling this development – again, lucky us!
Ready to take another step up the pyramid of needs? Esteem is the next need we are trying to satisfy. Maslow is referring here to aspects like respect, recognition and freedom. And yes, isn’t that what we want in a job? No micro-management, but be free to do our own thing, the way we think is best? And then get credit for it? Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, that’s not the spirit in most companies. Rigid hierarchies, standard processes, incompetent managers etc. are hindering us on our way to the top.
What we ultimately are striving for, in the job, but in life generally, is self-actualization: the desire to become the most that one can be. The job should be a path to self-fulfillment. It gives us a purpose in life. It makes us realize our full potential. Therefore, the job that we dream of cannot be just a job. We need to be able to identify ourselves with the mission, the vision and the values of our employer. With passion and sincerity. If you found such a match with your employer – congrats! You found your dream job! If not, keep looking. Or build the company you’d want to work for yourself.
You want it all. So what? Go and get it!