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Monday, April 18, 2016

Dreamy Jobs #2

Last week my blog post had results of a survey taken among high school and college students internationally. They ranked which companies they thought would provide the best “dream jobs.” For purposes of sharing another survey, I’ll only repeat the survey results of these millennial students in these areas: Treats Employees Fairly (72.3%), Flexible work hours/schedule (69.6 %), Gain skills to advance career (89.7%), and Work/life balance (68.1%).

Two things I left to attend to this week. The first is another survey, this one among working parents regarding their “dream job.” Secondly, I promised to give perspective on how to be content in any kind of work, assuming it is not illegal, immoral, or unethical.

This second survey was compiled by FlexJobs, an online resource that directs people to jobs offering flextime and freelance opportunities. A summary of results and an interview with the CEO of FlexJobs was published in in March 2016.

These working parents believe that a more flexible job would gain them this:
  • 99% of respondents say a flexible job would make them a happier person.
  • 93% claim they would become a more involved parent.
  • 89% believe this flexibility would make them a better spouse or “partner.” 

The biggie on what is meant by “flexibility” turns out to be telecommuting. The biggest reasons for this? Taking care of kids. Then work/life balance.

Sara Sutton Fell, both founder and CEO of FlexJobs, had easily identifiable “threads” for these people who would like to “have it all.” In their dream world, they desire a successful career, a healthy relationship, and thriving children. Well, who doesn’t?

Sara sees working mothers as the ones feeling the most pressure. This particularly applies to the women (or men) who are “actively involved in their household and child-related duties.” Again, this seems obvious.

If employers were to give these working parents what they want, here is Sara’s assessment: “Their top three responses to make their job situations better would be the ability to work from home, to have a flexible schedule, and to have a part-time schedule. The majority, 56 percent, would prefer to work between 30 and 40 hours, and 77 percent would like to work from home full time.”

Ms. Fell is a realist enough to recognize that conventional structures in the workplace have limits. And to this end, she tells people they need to look at their priorities and adjust. She does see, however, more companies offering more telecommuting options. All kinds of stressors are reduced when this option is available. Other articles can easily point out the pros and cons of this trend.

My focus is a bit different on a “dream job.” I prefer to offer steps to a mindset that delivers more job satisfaction regardless of your work. Much of it is centered around thankfulness. Develop these into your thinking, and watch the difference:

  1. Be thankful you have the freedom to choose the work you do.
  2. Be thankful you’re employed! (if you have a job)
  3. Be thankful for the talents and abilities God gave you.
  4. Count your blessings in the job you now have.
  5. Consider how your part in the larger mission of your organization makes a valuable contribution to the lives of others.
  6. Demonstrate your thankfulness consistently in your a) attitude b) appreciation and c) your service.
  7. Perform as an employee the way you would want an employee to work for you.

A few notes on the list above. Preparing your “heart” and your “mind” for the daily work to which you’ve agreed to do, will help your day (and your success) immeasurably. It’s truly a blessing to have choice in jobs! Ask any unemployed person and they will tell you it is a great blessing to be about meaningful work! And you are only able to do what you do because God gave you the means by which you have become skilled.

As for counting the blessings of your current job, I did this for the first time years ago. I was struggling with some aspects of a job that bugged me. And it was having a negative impact on my job satisfaction. Creating a list of all the benefits that came with my job reshaped my perspective. Others have been thankful I shared this idea with them.

As an added suggestion, print a copy of these seven mindset statements and post in a place where you can read the list daily—for thirty days. More if you need a real adjustment. Or have recurring struggles in this area.

Seeing how your work adds to the vitality of your organization, demonstrating thankfulness to your employer and others, and working in a manner you would want employers to perform will help you find that your job may be more “dreamy” than you thought.

Learning how to change our mindset is difficult. But crucial. Wrong thoughts most often turn our hearts in a bad direction. In Proverbs we read, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

And, come on. Did you really believe there is such a thing as a “perfect job”? In your dreams!

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app. 

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