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Everyone seems to have different standards on what defines a ‘good job.’   But, when it comes down to brass tacks, how do we really define what qualifies as a good job, and what differentiates one job as being good from the next?

In reality as diverse as all our opinions may seem on the subject, there are a few common criteria come up repeatedly when trying to define standards of a ‘good job.’

Those traits that repeatedly come up are:

  • The job itself
  • Interaction with others
  • Pay
  • Job Security
  • Responsibility
  • Physical demands
  • Physical factors (indoors/outdoors, health and safety)
  • Emotional outcomes (stress; influencing people)
  • Working hours
  • Autonomy
  • Recognition
  • Job requirements (level of training needed)
  • Job choice

Interaction with others seems to readily top most people’s lists as no matter the job itself, co-workers and management can make or break any job.

Pay is also a significant factor but only to the point that a fair wage and living can be made.  Many people would prefer a job they enjoy over a higher paying position, but again, this is personal preference.

As Michael Lind states , “We return to the question with which we began: What exactly is a good job? A tentative conclusion is that particular industries do not spontaneously generate good or bad jobs. There can be bad jobs in manufacturing and good jobs in personal services. We can also agree that wages and benefits should be adequate.  Beyond that, however, the consensus is likely to break down quickly.”

So when job searching, what characteristics do you use to define a ‘good job?’  Or have you thought about it?  Is it about good pay or do you focus more on putting your education and skills to use?

And in an economy where it is a struggle for most to find any job, and minimum wage is not readily considered a living wage, how do you find a good job?

Good jobs may feel like a needle in a haystack, but remember too, that’s because everyone defines a good job slightly differently.

If you are in a job hunt, the best thing to do is to figure out what factors are important to you and make sure you are targeting jobs that fulfill your personal needs.  If those aren’t met, you’re not likely to be happy in any job you choose and could soon be back on the hunt again.

Keep your resume up to date so you can move quickly to respond to new job openings and research companies so you can proactively seek positions before they might be posted.

If you keep doing the same things and they’re not working, try new things and get creative with your search.  Like, look at free-lancing opportunities or lower level jobs to get your foot in the door, or pursue jobs in different industries that require the same skill sets.

And don’t look past taking a part time or temporary job to pay the bills.  The less stressed you are about money during your search, the less desperate you will come off to employers.

Also know the difference between a no-go job, a good job, and a great job, for yourself.  Everyone wants a great job, but in this economy most will settle for a good job, so know where your bottom is.  And, who’s to say you don’t have the power to turn that good job into a great job through a little hard work and dedication?

Don’t forget to offer a helping hand to others, as it may help you redefine what a good job looks like for yourself through your assistance and get you re-motivated to seek it out.

Let us know what a good job means for you and what strategies you use to locate them.

Lind, Michael. What is a “good” job, anyway? April 26th, 2011.

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