I spoke to a school friend recently who has just celebrated 25 years at the same company. In fact it’s the only company she has ever worked for, if you discount the odd bar job whilst at university.
This got me thinking, because I’m about to celebrate thirteen years at KDR. I’ve only ever had 4 jobs (excluding summer jobs (did I mention that I was commended by my manager at MacDonald’s for the presentation of my filet of fish?)) in a thirty-odd year career. I do sometimes wonder why I’ve managed to stay motivated and engaged to stay in the jobs I’ve had, for longer than most. I put it down to a mixture of pride (wanting to do something that makes a difference), fear (I really don’t want to screw this up) and general job satisfaction.
But what is job satisfaction? In my case it’s being challenged constantly and overcoming those obstacles. I have to say that working in and now running a recruitment business is certainly challenging. But it’s also about giving something back. I’m not talking just about charity or community work but it’s the fact that KDR has given people the platform, environment and tools to grow and flourish. This in turn has given the people who have either worked for KDR in the past or work here now every opportunity to develop their own careers.
I guess it’s slightly different running my own business, but I think that the same principals apply whether you’re running your own show or being part of the team. I asked the team here what it is that makes them tick at work. Not why they work here but what they look for in a job. The main themes that shine through are:
- Supportive environment
- Feeling respected and having respect for your peers
- Someone to learn from/look up to
- Knowing what the company is working towards and your part in that
- A level of autonomy
- Work life balance
- Being challenged
- Career prospects
Interestingly pay was only mentioned by one of the team here, which I guess says that while the main reason you go to work is to get paid so you can pay your bills it is not the most important thing. Just so long as you are paid fairly I guess :)
But, back to my school friend. I’ll call her Annie, because that’s her name. She joined her current employer straight after she gained her master’s degree. Apart from a brief hiatus (of a weekend) when she was made redundant on a Friday but re-joined on the Monday, that is the only company she has ever worked for.
So why is she still there and thriving?
Although she works for a huge corporation, she works in a small team of 6-8 people in a division of about 100 people.
They work in a high pressure environment so have to trust and respect each other’s abilities to do their job.
Being in a smallish unit means everyone knows their role within that unit and everyone else knows what contribution that person is making. Partly as a result of this they have a great family feel about them, a real camaraderie.
She knows what she has to do and what part her role plays.
The work is varied with different challenges being thrown up each day.
The job isn’t the be-all and end-all of her life, so she always has something more interesting to look forward to outside work.
The company has good benefits and a career path but not necessarily great pay; but this is balanced by the other reasons stated above.
I can relate to all of the above points, both from within KDR and from Annie’s experiences. Everyone is different but it seems to me that there are common themes running through everyone who is happy in their roles, and it’s not all about the money.
What do you think? Does this ring true with your own experiences? Do you charge into work each day energised for the day ahead (most days!) or do you wish that you were doing what you do elsewhere where you might be more appreciated, challenged and supported?
KDR Recruitment is the home of the UKs best Information Management and Analytics jobs. To keep up to date with the latest career advice follow us on Twitter