Solve for x (where x is a great job)

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Solve for x (where x is a great job)
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About the Author

Laura Machan

Laura Machan

Laura Machan is a Partner, Recruitment Solutions for a major human resources consulting firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Although she has been recruiting for quite a few years, she still gets a big thrill from calling someone to set up an interview and an even bigger thrill when she hears a happy dance as she tells them when their new job starts. Laura lives with her family in Oakville, where she has lived for over 25 years, and is a significant contributor to the Canadian Federation of University Women - Oakville and Women in Nuclear, Golden Horseshoe Chapter.

Latest posts (See all)


We all want the best job, right? We spend more time with our work partners than our spouses so time at work should be pretty satisfying. And rewarding. And sometimes fun.

But how do you get to this place?

The most important factors of great work are:

  1. Scope
  2. Manager/Team
  3. Location
  4. Money

These are like legs on a stool. They are all important but sometimes you can get away with one leg being a bit shorter than the others. If one is way too short, then you are sure to fall on your ass. (in a career sense)

Scope really is the most important. What do you do every day? I am not talking about having coffee or reading the paper. Who do you help? What do you solve? How does your activity move your group ahead?

If you are firefighter, it’s pretty easy to figure this out. If you are one person in a team of fifty, it can be trickier, especially if it feels like you spend all your time in meetings about nothing!

Think about the main objective of your job. Is it to support someone? To make something better? To create something new?


Once you can hone in on your day to day objective, you can decide if this is what you want keep doing. Sometimes you realize that you are no longer doing what you signed up to do. This happens often in companies with rapid change (growth, decline or acquisition) and sometimes the changes are subtle, slow and kind of creep up on you.

This takes some time. Be prepared to do some walking and thinking about this. Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night with a flash of realization that you need to quit your job and start a brewery but this is not how it happens for most of us. We slowly come to the conclusion that we need a shift, not a complete flip.

Now you can start to target places where you can be better and more satisfied.

More on that step next week.

Follow Laura Machan on Twitter @recruiterscouch.



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