Sunday, January 06, 2008

Job descriptions

While going through one of my piles of uncategorized stuff, I came across a printed copy of a something I wrote a few years ago during one of my too-frequent spells of unemployment: a description of my ideal job:

My ideal job
involves the completion of successive projects
which require my best effort, intelligence and creativity;
and which evoke my passionate concern;
in collaboration with colleagues
with whom I share a collective sense of being the best at what we do;
with whom I consistently deliver excellent results in a timely fashion
without ever punching a time clock;
and with whom I get paid extremely well.

The very act of writing that had an immediate and unexpected benefit, which was that I realized with new clarity what type of job I must avoid forever, to have any hope of vocational joy in this world:

My nightmare job
involves performing the same task or set of tasks every day,
which require a minimum of intelligence or effort and no creativity
and which I do not care about at all;
in collaboration with colleagues
who do not care about doing their best work,
and therefore may be content to deliver mediocre results
every day that they punch the time clock,
as long as they receive their slave wages.

While the ideal job description was based largely on desire, the nightmare job description was rooted solidly in experience: I had been there, more than once, and knew that I did not want to go there again, ever.

Sometimes, knowing what to avoid can be quite useful.
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