8 Aug 2017

Are you in your dream job?

Ok.  Here it is.  I’m not sure there is any such thing as ‘the dream job’.   I was reading a competitor’s blog last week and they were advising clients how to make their internal roles, their candidate’s dream roles thus gaining loyalty and staying power from an increasingly transient workforce.  It got me thinking.  What would my dream job be/have been? Probably a travel journalist at one stage and I can definitely remember wanting to be a Doctor, until I saw a corpse and gave up on that one.  I definitely never set out to be a Recruitment Consultant – yet, of all the jobs I’ve had, it has been the most satisfying, most flexible, most rewarding – financially and personally job that I’ve done. So technically, it is my dream job. 

I think there are a few things going on here.  Firstly the definition of your dream job and secondly, the realisation that that definition can change throughout your lifetime and what was your dream job at the age of 25, probably won’t be by the time you are 45.  We’re very lucky really. In my parent’s generation, your job was your job.  You did it for life.  Albeit, you did usually get a final salary pension scheme too so they didn’t do that badly!  These days, we are able to change career and increasingly, people are looking for alternative ways to make a living that don’t involve a relentless daily commute or mind numbing 9-5 . 

 I do see several candidates try to make the break.  And whilst there are a few who have succeeded, there are an equal and opposite number who after perhaps a year or two years doing something different, have come back to the industry.  Often it’s because the grass isn’t always greener but often, simply because the ideal dream role with lots of flexibility and balance, doesn’t always pay very well.  Often, I’ll see candidates who want to ‘Freelance’ or ‘be a Marketing Consultant’.  It’s really important to weigh up the pros and cons of doing this before committing.  I think in the North, there is a great Freelance market for Project Managers, Developers and top quality Designers.  Not so much for client services, account handlers or in-house marketers. The best we can do there is usually maternity contracts.  Most often, the consultants find that they can fill 2 days of work with an old client or existing work but it can be tricky to top up...and then financially it doesn’t become the same win win plan.  Lots of time but not enough money...

We also see quite a few industry leavers who go into alternative therapies, life coaching and yoga teaching. Again, the feedback is that whilst these opportunities are personally rewarding, the financial side of things is a bit of a come down.  And increasingly we find individuals coming back into the jobs market.

So there is definitely something to be said for employers trying to make their employee’s lives as enjoyable as possible.  We’re very lucky to work in marketing. For the most part, it’s interesting, challenging, has lots of variety, is evolving all the time etc.   In my annual surveys, the most important benefit that employees value is the number of days holiday and the ability to buy extra days.  Second in line is flexible working. Whether this is one day a week working from home or the ability to start at 8 and leave at 4 or start at 10 and leave at 6.   Increasingly pensions are both requested and provided. Other softer benefits including  gym membership, free fruit,  pizza Fridays etc – they are nice but it’s the things that allow quality of life with family and friends that make the difference.  I think over the coming years, we’re increasingly going to see individuals wanting to work part time and employers who can accommodate this will probably find increased loyalty and greater staying power in their employees.  In my recent experience, as individuals enter their forties and fifties, they don’t want to stop working, but they’d love to work less.  At the moment, this is more easily accommodated with in-house marketing roles than in agencies but perhaps that will change as the century progresses.  We will see.

So, are you in your dream job now?  As long as you feel like you have a good work life balance, are paid fairly and you get a kick out of what you do? I’d say yes you probably are.  If not, give me a call and we’ll see if we can find it!