John came back to the office after a long afternoon meeting and was extremely glad to see all his team members lively discussing something. It was 17h30, the end of the working day, but he had some time for sharing thoughts and hearing feedback for the day. Interestingly, such discussions often helped him to bring the whole team together.
“What are you discussing? “ John asked looking at Emily who definitely looked unhappy. But Emily kept silent as if she did not hear John’s question. Peter answered and his explanation was so confusing that Ruth helped him out. “Well, we are talking about deeper understanding of our job drivers. In short, we are talking about an ideal job and trying to find out what makes it ideal,” Ruth said. John nodded. This spontaneous discussion about an ideal job interested him enormously.
“Well, I’ve just said that I commute every day. When I get home, I am often exhausted and want to relax but I can’t because of everyday pressures in the workplace,” Emily said emotionally. “Hey, Emily, I read somewhere that three factors influence your job satisfaction: supportive supervision, job security, and fair treatment. Emily, I guess if you like your job, commuting is of no importance. You commute because you love your job. Am I right?” Peter said and added “I think money and the possibility of promotion can also make your job ideal. Are you happy when you are underpaid?” Ruth was about to reply but Sam was quicker. He smiled glancing in the direction of John: “Actually, I agree with Peter. Why? Material rewards plus interest should be a formula for an ideal job. But it’s just my opinion.” John wanted to say something but decided not to.
Emily, Peter, Ruth, and Sam continued discussing the components of an ideal job. Mike was the only one who kept silent as if he had nothing to say. He had joined the team a month ago and had already gained a very good reputation among his colleagues. What was Mike thinking about?
“Um, well, perhaps in this unstable economic time it’s wrong to be concerned about personal circumstances but work is life and life is more than work,” Emily sighed. “Hmm… I believe that people can’t always be happy and a number of factors influence your feelings about the job. Nothing is wrong about your feelings. Well, we should talk about your pressure, Emily. OK?” John replied trying to keep Emily from getting into a mess. Emily nodded. A moment of silence followed.
“Listen, how about passion? It’s strange that nobody has mentioned it yet. If you have meaningful work, passion, and realistic goals, you should love your job,” Mike said and added “would you agree?” Sam burst into laughter: “Mike, are you serious? Are you saying that money isn’t important? Ideal is not synonymous for idealistic,” Sam’s words relaxed the discussion and everyone began smiling. “Sam, you know that’s not what I meant but you always seem to want the last word. I think we have enough food for thought. It’s time to go now,” Mike’s voice sounded soft and friendly.
Some ten minutes later John was on his way to a restaurant round the corner where he had a meeting with his friend. John couldn’t stop thinking about the discussion. He was glad the team members had revealed their inner feelings openly. Peter was right – supportive supervision was a very important component of job satisfaction. Indeed, John’s leadership was based on giving clear directions that helped his team members increase their autonomy in the workplace. “Hmm.. What makes a job ideal? It’s such a tough question. A lot of companies spend millions of dollars surveying …. Hmm, I’ll ask my friend .. It will be interesting to hear what he says,” John thought.
What is your opinion? What makes your job ideal?
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