When you get right down to it, a job is a relationship. And just like all relationships, finding the right fit for you is a combination of many factors and how they work with your life. Below are some of the things that can make the difference between a dream job and a working nightmare.
1. The people. A great boss makes a good job awesome and can even make unbearable jobs pretty okay. One of my retail jobs was not a great fit for me, and almost every day was a struggle to stay enthusiastic. But having a supervisor who was genuinely kind and took my opinion seriously (and brought in his own grill to cook us burgers out back while we worked through July 4th) made me willing to get up and go to work there for minimum wage rather than jumping ship. Great coworkers can make a difficult boss bearable. And if you find great coworkers and a great boss? Goldmine.
2. The schedule. If you’re a night owl, working the overnight stock shift will be heaven – while that same job will drive a morning person to crave sleep their whole shift. Likewise, being a breakfast server will be just what early birds want, but some people will always come in grumpy at 5:30 A.M. Ask yourself when you tend to be most productive, and if possible find a job that matches up with the times you like to work.
3. The commute. Most people don’t like being stuck in the car or on the bus for hours each day going to and from work. Look for jobs near where you live or go to school, or at least jobs that you can reach without encountering tons of traffic each day.
4. The tasks. Some jobs wont fit with your skills or personality, but once you find out where your strengths are (dealing with people, fixing stuff, organizing things, assembling products, etc.) you’ll likely have the potential to be happy doing most jobs of that type. No matter how awesome or everyday your job description may seem, you’re really important to someone. Fast, friendly cashiers can get someone home faster with dinner for their family. An entertaining waiter can turn around a date that’s getting ready to turn into a disaster. Each job is important, the trick is figuring that out and remembering it on days when work seems like, well, work.
5. The money. Know why we listed this last? Because even though at first a sweet paycheck can make you believe you’re capable of dealing with whatever your job throws at you, if you don’t have at least one of the other items on this list solidly checked, it’s likely you’ll slowly start hating that job no matter how cool the cash is at first.