Perfect Career Checklist
December 12, 2009 10:28 PM   Subscribe

Omit passion and salary. What other aspects of a job are important?

I'm 19 and I'm brainstorming possible careers.

Some people choose a career based on personal interests; others, salary. Passion and salary seem to be the only two factors shoved down my throat whenever I ask for career advice. I can't help but feel there's other, more subtle aspects to deciding on a career that I'm missing.

Philip Greenspun lists a few:
- work mostly collaboratively?
- meet a lot of new people?
- work mostly with competent people?
- work mostly with interesting people?
- able to see the direct impact of one's work?
- able to teach others?
- get to travel to interesting places on a regular basis
- able to leave work behind when you go home at the end of the day? (or do you have to prepare, read email, answer phone calls, etc. when at home?)
- able to take long blocks of time off for exotic travel?
- cog in a large bureaucracy?
- satisfaction of being the boss?
- value to employers increases with age and experience?
- able to move to any part of the country and find a similar job? (or effectively stuck in one or two cities where an industry is concentrated)

So besides the salary and job content itself, what other aspects of a career are important to you, and why? (And perhaps, what job/field would fit those criteria the best?)

Even relatively insignificant aspects are appreciated.
posted by spec to Work & Money (42 answers total) 60 users marked this as a favorite
 
Discretion.

The ability to exercise independent judgment on work-related matters. I have read somewhere that studies show this is an important part of job satisfaction. I can testify that it is what I appreciate having in my job.
posted by abdulf at 10:37 PM on December 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Who your boss is. I have worked for amazing bosses and horrible ones doing the same job, and even though I love my work, the bad ones made it hell.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:40 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Work-life balance. The ability to actually leave on time and to take vacation days.
posted by Netzapper at 10:43 PM on December 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Jerks: Are you surrounded by them?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:43 PM on December 12, 2009


Ease of commute.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:44 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good people to work with and autonomy.
posted by the giant pill at 10:44 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Strike that -- I guess that's more for a job than a career. Carry on.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:44 PM on December 12, 2009


Is there potential for cross-training in other departments/specializations to keep things interesting? Also, does the company generally fill management vacancies by promoting from within, or by hiring from outside? Are the other employees bad attitude grouches, or positive people who would be fun to work with? [on preview, yeah, Jerks.]
posted by ctmf at 10:48 PM on December 12, 2009


The ability to work for something. That is, work is a means to an end (a hobby, a family, whatever) rather than the end in itself, unless you're lucky enough to end up in a job that is inherently fulfilling. Keep in mind that a career that is inherently fulfilling on paper can be rubbish if the people you work with (clients, supervisors, etc.) have unrealistic demands.
posted by socratic at 10:48 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your schedule - - are you forced to be present from 9 to 5, or can you come and go as you please as long as you meet your deadlines? I've had both kinds of schedules in very similar jobs; having flexible hours made a HUGE difference to my daily moods and sense of control over my life.
posted by jenmakes at 10:55 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


How much do you believe in the end result?
[Example: I have two degrees in advertising, only to realize I find traditional advertising (the result) obnoxious. I now work in marketing for a company whose products I think are totally awesome.]

How long will it take you to get to your work and back?

How oppressively corporate/faceless/boring is the physical work environment?

How long do people typically stay at in one place in the industry? Too short and the turnover is frustrating. Too long and people's intractable attitudes may be frustrating.

How many layers are there between the lowest worker and the head of the company and how much interaction is there between layers?

How much do they value degrees (MBAs) vs. intelligence and experience? (This is directly related to frustration levels.)

Given your personal passions, interests and hobbies, does it "make sense" to people who know you?

Would you be proud to tell your parents, your kids, your high school friends about what you do for a living?
posted by Gucky at 11:03 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whether or not your boss trusts you has been the biggest thing so far. Benefit of the doubt is a wonderful thing. Having someone trying to catch every mistake you make can destroy your life.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:09 PM on December 12, 2009


By way of answering your question, let me share my personal Theory of Crap*:

Every kind of job, every career, every work sector (even being self-employed) has some kind of associated crap. There is no such thing as a crap-free job. However, different jobs often come with different kinds of crap. The key to having a career that doesn't make you want to kill yourself is to figure out what kind of crap you can deal with, and what kind of crap is going to make you insane, and look for jobs accordingly.

For example, I am an academic, and there is plenty of odd crap that goes on in academia. But I've also had enough other experience to know, without a doubt, that I could never work in corporate America, even though with my skill set I could probably make more money. I just personally would not be able to deal with the kind of crap that goes along with corporate jobs, whereas while the bizarro world stuff that happens in academia may make me sigh and roll my eyes or need to vent over beer, it does not make me want to leave. Similarly, I know people whose heads would explode if they spent more than a day in academia, but they do just fine in sectors I would absolutely hate.

So I think it's worthwhile to try to find out what kinds of things people doing certain jobs tend to dislike about those jobs, and see if those would be dealbreakers or not for you.

*patent-pending, all rights reserved, not available in Canada
posted by DiscourseMarker at 11:10 PM on December 12, 2009 [27 favorites]


Location? Can you walk there in under 20 minutes? Nice building? How's the view? Et cetera.
posted by floam at 11:38 PM on December 12, 2009


Number of vacation days.
posted by dealing away at 11:42 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dress code. I consider the fact that I can show up to work in jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie a major perk.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:56 PM on December 12, 2009


- promotion opportunities
- training and/or education benefits; mentoring
- growth industry lends itself to stability and to potential for growth and opportunity
- good health care
- no responsibility without the authority to carry it out
- a direct correlation between your efforts and your employer's success in the marketplace; for many, if at the end of the day you can see or measure what you accomplished, you're more likely to feel good about your job
- autonomy vs structure -- do you like complete reign over how you do your job, or do you like structure and coaching, or some mix of the two?
- job granularity -- do you like to perform a task from inception to completion, or do you prefer to specialize in one area of a task? This may lead you to look at small companies vs large companies.
- social value or morality of the work or your employer
- do you like travel/transfers, or do you want to avoid travel or avoid moving?
- variety: do you want to carve out a niche and stay there, or do you get bored easily and prefer to change up your job duties overy year or two?
- is your boss an asshole? Do you like the folks you work with? You'll spend at least 40 hours a week with them, after all.
posted by 2xplor at 11:57 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


This maybe a little less direct than you are thinking of but here are my 2 cents.

I have read a book called "First Break All the Rules" by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.
The book is basically about what the Worlds best managers do differently, but there is a chapter in there about every employee having to have certain needs met in a job, no matter the job.

They did all this research and pretty much discovered that the strength of a work place can be measured in 12 questions - These questions measure the core elements needed to attract and keep good employees.
So basically whatever your passion, whatever the salary - if you can answer positively to these 12 questions then chances are you will be in a good, well managed job. Add in your passion and get the money you want and you are golden.

Here are the 12 questions -
1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday?
4. In the past 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel like my job is important?
9. Are my coworkers committed to doing quality work?
10. Do I have a best friend at work?
11. In the last 6 months has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
12. This last year, have I had opportunities to learn and grow?

So whatever career path I choose I will look for a job that meets these needs.


I loved this book, and I am not one to read books of that sort. It was short and fun and a little inspiring. Even if you aren't a manager it can tell you a lot about YOUR managers/superiors and with that knowledge you can be a better employee...
posted by fogonlittlecatfeet at 11:58 PM on December 12, 2009 [44 favorites]


I think, to be somewhat happy with your work, your career needs to be one where you see results of the work you put into it. If you slave away at something, but it seems like your hard work never goes anywhere, you might well end up with incredibly negative feelings towards your job, and even yourself.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:08 AM on December 13, 2009


Control over my budget; not being harangued over arrival/departure times as long as things get done properly; supervisor is a decent human being; practice of my religion is respected; being able to take a sick day without any questions asked; not too big an employee base so ladder climbing and backstabbing ways are minimized; not to small a staff so it doesn't feel like a gossipy small town church social; accessible management; great full medical coverage. (I love my job even though I could probably pull down $10k more a year elsewhere if I hustled).
posted by Burhanistan at 12:14 AM on December 13, 2009


Lots of good answers above, but (for answers relating to career) I'd like to extend all the autonomy responses to include creativity and responsibility (with the requisite authority). And very much agreeing with "working on an outcome you value". Simply put: I couldn't work in marketing because (though I know it is an essential function in many businesses) I see it as a net waste of society's resources with no lasting value. Conversely, plenty of people rightly refuse to work on any and all weaponry, while some engineers love to support the defence of their country via their labours - ethics comes in all flavours.

For job-related not career-related, the most important factor is IMHO the quality of people you work with, which spans a multitude of factors topped probably by their competence (both functional and management/people-related) and honesty. People don't leave their jobs, they leave their bosses.

In considering compensation, too many people think only of the direct forms: salary, paid leave, stock options, etc. IMHO what can be more important in the long term is who owns the (intellectual) property that you create? Assuming you're a professional and working for a large company, it's likely that you're creating significantly more value than what you're being paid, otherwise how could you be paid? For some classes of employee, the only way to generate value is to be a cog in a huge machine, but for some, it's possible (maybe preferable, maybe not) to break out and own your own and others' efforts. You'll note that those who are truly wealthy and powerful are not employees, they do not have jobs. They own and they direct.
posted by polyglot at 12:56 AM on December 13, 2009


Breaks. Or, I guess, in the case of office jobs, unstructured time in which you could be working or taking a break, as long as you get your work done. Jobs where you have to work from arrival till lunch and then lunch till quitting time get pretty hellish.
posted by tehloki at 1:02 AM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


For me it started to really matter what I physically do every day. I was finding my position hunched in front of a computer in a small windowless room physically incompatible with my constitution. I quit to drive trucks and now I work at the post office where I move stuff around all day. For me I realized I hate sitting around all day. I'd rather stand or walk around.
It's something to consider. DO you want to sit in a cubicle and stare at a screen? Do you want to go for a walk and get paid for it (mail carrier)? Do you want to interact with the public all day? I like the fact I get to listen to music and wear what ever I want. I used to work where we listened to soft rock radio and I had to dress up. These things can be significant in the long run!
posted by smartypantz at 1:17 AM on December 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


I honestly can't think of anything really relevant to a job other than salary and a liking for what you do.

Of course, I personally have never had a job that paid particularly well or that I particularly liked, so I guess it could be a matter of shifting baselines.
posted by Target Practice at 1:34 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Lots of great answers here - something not yet directly touched on - a feeling of competency in my job. I love feeling competent, whether it's when I worked in after school care, washing out tubs of chicken fat, video store guy, freelancer or now corporate schmuck.

Without fail, the times I've *really* hated my job are the times when I'm made to feel incompetent.
posted by smoke at 1:35 AM on December 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


For me:

Creative + intellectual challenge
Recognition of my contribution
Professionalism
Opportunity to take risks

That last two are why I'm not in academia anymore. I like to work with quick, hungry people who are willing to collaborate to bring about something really cool, and I enjoy taking risks.

When I was in academia, it was a tangled mess of passive-aggressive backbiting and arrogant resistance to all change. Of course, you could run into that in business and there are probably wonderful departments in academia, but based on my experience and what I've heard from academic friends, I made the right choice for me when I switched to the for-profit tech sector. Now that I'm self-employed, I'm even happier.
posted by PatoPata at 2:02 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can you work from home?

Is it physical work? If yes,
is it dirty?
will it leave you physically exhausted at days end?
is it dangerous?
are you expected to purchase your own tools? (though that might fall under the "money doesn't matter" piece in your question)

Will you work with people who need your help?

Will you work with people?
If you are working with people, are they going to be all over you, will you have any privacy? Will you have your own office, and, if yes, can you close the door to work without being seen as being nuts? (That was huge for me in programming; I loved to just climb into the screen when I was deep in a program, even when people walked by in conversation with others it was a distraction. A huge selling point of one job was that my boss said "This is your door. It closes. Close it if you wish, no foul." When they went to a cube farm it became a very, very different job.)

Can you personalize your work area?

If you work with things, will the job be so isolated that you will become lonely?

Is there a dress code, real or implicit?

Will you be hassled if you dog it some days, mental health days, etc?

Will you be forced to violate the principles of your profession to cut corners?

Will you have fun? It can be the work, but my experience has led me to believe that the fun mostly comes from the people you are sharing your time with. That *can* be customers, if you're in that line, and love to talk with people, and helping them. But even there, understanding and fun cow orkers really are make or break.
posted by dancestoblue at 2:09 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


ROWE.
posted by flabdablet at 2:55 AM on December 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


For me, career desirability boils down to:

1. A total absence of surveillance (bosses prefer the euphemism "supervision.")

2. NO CO-WORKERS.

3. Suffice it to say, I'm self-employed.
posted by BostonTerrier at 5:32 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are plenty of people willing to work at a job that they have a passion for and pays well but is demeaning. I can't imagine wanting to demean myself for any amount of money. Excessive stress is also not something I will accept in a work environment no matter the pay.

The main thing to remember is that not all jobs in the same field will be equal. A scientist can work for many different organizations doing similar things with management that will treat them very differently. Some will treat them as professionals, some will treat them as children, some will treat them as mysteries that can never be understood. It isn't so much the career, so much as it is the types of people and personality types you will encounter in various sectors of that career.

As an engineer I have many opportunities to work in a variety of companies from government to consultant to policy advocates to sales and from sitting behind a desk to on-site project management. I have worked in nearly all of those options and depending on the bosses or clients it can be heaven or hell. Although being self-employed may make it seem as if you are free from nasty bosses, in reality your clients are your bosses and can just as much a PITA as them.
posted by JJ86 at 6:51 AM on December 13, 2009


After some number of years in the workforce I've determined what my preferences are. Here are some (nonsalary) things I think contribute toward an ideal workplace, roughly but not precisely in descending order of importance. Note that many of them are reactionary in nature -- it could easily be read as a list of things that previous employers or managers have transgressed upon unreasonably.

Most of them come down to "don't be like the average manager, because the average manager does a lot of dumb things that waste my time, energy, and ultimately my goodwill."

  • a complete and total lack of office politics, factions, us-against-them departmental bunker mentality, and territoriality
  • colleagues who are fun and interesting people
  • a large total number of days off
  • a boss who can distinguish fact from fantasy
  • compensation for extraordinary work; crunch time, overtime, double overtime, saving-the-day stuff
  • a firm, though negotiable in good faith, work/life boundary (see above)
  • recognition of results and not number of hours butt-in-chair
  • a boss who knows the difference between "changing business conditions" and "randomly changing your mind based on something your friend told you"
  • a boss who understands how prioritization works and how it fails when abused
  • a career path that doesn't involve going deeper into management; I'm cheating a bit here, as this is another way of saying salary and responsibility growth for people who don't want to climb the corporate hierarchy. I'm better at Doing Things than sitting in meetings and running the subsidiary that controls the division that among its many departments includes the Department of Thing. Just give me the Thing so I can do it.
  • trust and support of my discretion feels like respect, and respect is good
  • a boss who is held accountable for what she says
  • sufficient resources to accomplish the tasks, be that budget, people, equipment or authority
  • a boss who knows his role is to get obstacles out of my way so I can do the job I'm asked to do
  • a complete and total lack of silly group-therapy "team-building" social conformism exercises; I don't really want to spend my afternoon making handmade christmas cards with you, thanks all the same

  • posted by majick at 7:52 AM on December 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


    These answers are exactly what I'm looking for. They're great, thanks!

    A bit more about my intentions on this: I'll make a huge list of everything posted here (only removing duplicates), assign weights to them and then use it to evaluate career choices.

    For job-related not career-related, the most important factor is IMHO the quality of people you work with, which spans a multitude of factors topped probably by their competence (both functional and management/people-related) and honesty. People don't leave their jobs, they leave their bosses.

    ...That last two are why I'm not in academia anymore. I like to work with quick, hungry people who are willing to collaborate to bring about something really cool, and I enjoy taking risks.


    Well said ocherdraco, Sys Rq, polyglot, PatoPata and many others. For the little time I've been working I have found this too. Do you think certain fields tend to attract more pointy-headed managers or jerks than others? Also, are there any specific fields that generally attract those bright, collaborative co-workers?

    Ease of commute.
    ...Strike that -- I guess that's more for a job than a career. Carry on.

    Still applicable as I think some careers may make this easier than others (i.e. freelancing). Anyway, I'm just trying to get a massive raw list - so thanks!

    *patent-pending, all rights reserved, not available in Canada
    Darn! Fav'd anyway.

    Number of vacation days.
    Teachers and people in France come to mind. Any others that stereotypically have a lot?

    And also, I appreciate the personal anecdotes and descriptions about your jobs/careers, I find they hold a lot more weight than job descriptions on Wikipedia and such.
    posted by spec at 8:28 AM on December 13, 2009


    Do you think certain fields tend to attract more pointy-headed managers or jerks than others? Also, are there any specific fields that generally attract those bright, collaborative co-workers?

    It might be helpful to consider this in terms of environments as well as fields.

    Environments: I think that big organizations like corporations, the military, and big universities can appeal to future pointy-heads or actually turn people into pointy-heads. It can feel good to be part of a steady machine. It's safe and structured, and if you follow the rules, you can become a manager or other leader without necessarily demonstrating leadership skills. It might sound like unfair stereotyping, but big corporations are my clients and my job is to help them fix people problems, and lack of leadership ability or desire is a big one.

    Fields: I've been working for 30 years. The unhealthiest workplace I've ever been in was populated by K-12 teachers--they were into vicious rumors, passive-aggressive crap, and intense cliques. A close second was a department of a university, which was nasty with favoritism and stuck in the past, to the detriment of the students. Obviously this doesn't mean that all workplaces in these fields have the same problems, but the ones I experienced were certainly intense.

    The most sensible places I've worked have been small tech firms (engineering, software development, online communications). I also feel like the people in those firms are the brightest people I've worked with. They tend to judge ideas on their own merits, they're quick to change course when necessary, and they seem committed to the quality of the project. Obviously this isn't true of everyone in small tech firms, but in my experience it seems more true than in other fields.

    The tech firms are also the only workplaces I've been where poor performers were actually fired. In the other workplaces, it was administratively impossible to fire someone, or favoritism kept them in their jobs while the good workers quit.
    posted by PatoPata at 9:30 AM on December 13, 2009


    One way to look at this would be to look at the major axes of the Myers-Briggs type personality scales, and think about the likelihood of finding a position or career track within a particular field that is compatible with those personality traits.

    For example: introversion vs. extroversion.
    There are some fields where the majority of common positions/career tracks involve a great deal of interpersonal interaction (teaching, for example), and there are fields where most positions/career tracks involve a great deal of solo tasking (programming).

    Now, in any broadly considered field, there are individual positions/tracks that probably conform to any set of characteristics. But thinking about these types of axes may help narrow down more specific career paths: for example, if you're interested in the field of mental health and are more "thinkie" than "feelie," you might be better suited for psychiatry or psychological testing than as a therapist. If you're more introverted than extroverted, you might be more comfortable doing private individual therapy with the same small number of clients each week.

    A couple other axes other than Myers-Briggs types might be a preference for indoor vs. outdoor work, rural vs. suburban vs. urban; overall job availability and long-term trends in the job market.
    posted by drlith at 9:46 AM on December 13, 2009


    I work in the library profession but it turns out I hate working in libraries! I have a very similar theory to DiscourseMarker's personal Theory of Crap. That is, I think any workplace is maybe 20-50% broken at all times and it's important to me that if things are broken, they're broken in a way I can handle. So, here are things that I care about.

    - Is my boss fair to me and other employees? [concerning time-off and vacation times and occasional bending of rules]
    - Is my boss able to give guidance when needed and not when it's not needed?
    - Is my boss responsive to my requests for assistance and will she be willing to make the tough decisions if it comes to that? [I had a boss who I would give a weekly report to which would contain questions that would never get answered...]
    - Are problems addressed in a timely and reasonable fashion?
    - Do people get hung up on niggly shit at the expense of making the workplace a better place to work?
    - Are requests for changes done with the overarching mission of the institution in mind?
    - Are the employees trusted?
    - Are my personal politics acceptable for the workplace and vice-versa? [this time of year this is particularly important, if I'm going to be hassled to come to the xmas party, I'm a bad fit as an employee]
    - Is my personality acceptable for the workplace and vice-versa? [I am not a team player, I am okay with this if others are]
    - Are people looking for ways to improve the workplace for both patrons and staff? [in the small public library world, the answer to this is often, sadly, no]
    - Does everyone work about as hard as I do?
    - Do people have the same relationship to the legal structure of the job as I do? [I worked in a union shop and the rules were broken all the time and I was told basically to "relax" about it which, as you might imagine, made me livid]
    - Is money important to the workplace in similar ways as it is to me [I don't mind being asked to take my car on a work errand as long as no one minds if I take home an extra laptop power cord if I need one and it's not doing anything]

    Most important, to me.

    - can people PROBLEM SOLVE in ways that have long-term benefit both to me and the institution? Is there a backward and forward-looking approach to the instution? [i.e. looking at past situations and seeing how things were done in order to try to inform future situations -- too many workplaces do things in a triage way and don't ever get to sit and reflect about larger changes]

    I was actually very surprised [other people might not be] at how badly I fit in in a library environment. Just sharing the values of the other people in the workplce was really really not enough to make me happy there. Now I mostly work at home and do consulting type stuff where I get to set up more of the variables that are important to me and I'm much happier.
    posted by jessamyn at 9:57 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


    It's probably more specific to each job and not so much the overall career, but I wanted to super-mega-giga-second fogonlittlecatfeet's #5. I've been the gofer, the technician, the supervisor, and the lower/middle management. The #1 thing that will make me explode with rage and consider if this job may not be for me is overriding my recommendation (without an external business reason). Hell, I may be the lowly technician in charge only of chemistry in the swimming pool out back (silly made-up example), but I'm good at that. If I say we need to add chlorine, don't turn around and ask someone else if they think the pool needs chlorine. It needs it. I just told you. Now, if accounting says we can't afford it, or we're strategizing to add at a certain time later, and can we stretch until then, that's one thing. But seeming to not believe that I know what I'm talking about will make me look for another job.
    posted by ctmf at 10:04 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Crap, that makes no sense. it was fogonlittlecatfeet's #7. #5 is overrated - I'd rather not have overly nosy coworkers and "get to know your people" management directives turn me off. "Intrusive Leadership," they call it in the military now. Hate it. If they become friends, then ok.
    posted by ctmf at 10:12 AM on December 13, 2009


    Autonomy. Because I need it. YMMV.
    posted by Kurichina at 2:18 PM on December 13, 2009


    My advice, to myself at your age, would be to try and get some professional help with this issue. I say this because I have spent my time since finishing high school bouncing through a few different areas and not finding quite the right thing (and spending lots of money on education in the process).

    About a month ago, my company laid off a few people, including me (although I was offered an option of part-time, but left since I hated it). As part of my severance package, I got a career outplacement service.

    My career psychologist has got me to work through written exercises, and also to complete a Birkman Assessment. I found the results were very accurate and it has been really good in helping me think through 'career drivers' (in my case, autonomy, meaning and knowledge are important, but particularly autonomy). I felt it was better than the Myer Briggs type of testing. It has also helped me rule out things that I thought "Well, I could do that, it would be ok", now having a better understanding of what is particularly important to me and knowing that job would not meet those needs. I have done other career assessments before which haven't really worked for me, but this one is good.

    Because what is of utmost importance to other people may not be of importance to you. Also, self-assessment can be tricky, so it is quite useful to look at it with someone impartial. Ask for career counselling as a Christmas present!
    posted by AnnaRat at 5:03 PM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


    When you interview for a job, ask to take a tour of the offices. Pay attention to the amount of Dilbert cartoons taped to cubical walls, office doors, etc. The higher this number, the more the employees disrespect the management and believe that their workplace is being run incompetently. Dilbert cartoons taped to the doors or walls of management count double. The more Dilbertized an office is, the more horrible the relations between workers and management. Try to find a job with a low dilbertization ratio.
    posted by Cookiebastard at 5:36 PM on December 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


    How nice/interesting my coworkers are, how flexible my schedule is, whether I have my own office with a door.
    posted by Jacqueline at 12:27 PM on December 14, 2009


    Some jobs have a lot of small tasks that are generated by others, that you are doing constantly. You are always busy which make the days go fast, but it sometimes feels like you can never get ahead of the workload.

    Other jobs have a larger goal with a bigger deadline. No one is making sure you work today, but missing the goal is just unacceptable. So work/life balance is a joke around the deadline. And you have to manage your own time.

    Each of these appeals to a different type of person. Decide which one you would prefer. Do you prefer classes with a semester-long project? Or ones with weekly homework and quizzes?
    posted by smackfu at 3:22 PM on December 14, 2009


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