Blame it on the pandemic, the Great Resignation or simply the ever-changing times, but the way we view work is quite different now than it used to be. Employees are striving for more work-life balance, four-day work weeks, union protection… In short, it’s no longer just about the daily hustle and grind. People are starting to redefine what work means to them beyond the paycheck.
But if it’s not just for the money, what do we look for in a job?
A comic strip titled “Why people leave even the most high paying jobs” by Woke Salaryman does a great job of answering that question.
The illustrations begin with two co-workers talking. One of them is packing up his things after taking on a new job that would involve a paycut. The other is in disbelief. Sure, the workplace is toxic, but at least it pays well.
A paycut? What madness is this?!All images from wokesalaryman.com
It’s here that the enlightened exiting co-worker states, “Money is not the ONLY thing that matters in a job.” Here are other things to consider:
Even in the work-from-home age, culture is a major factor for workplace fulfillment. How your boss interacts with you, whether or not you receive credit or support and who you get to learn from all make an impact. Woke Salaryman suggests to look for these two types of healthy company cultures:
Collaborative, where there’s an even exchange of trust, accountability, credit and responsibility. No more micromanagement, gossip or working in silos. Of course, you can work independently and still be collaborative, but I don’t believe the author was trying to dissuade anyone from that. The point is, a collaborative culture instills a sense of safety, rather than fear.
Transparent, where information is freely and honestly exchanged between colleagues and departments. An example of this could look like a visible salary description on a job post or being able to express feedback to the company without fear of retribution.
As the comic points out, most of us will spend the majority of our waking lives working. So it helps a lot if what we do feels meaningful. Some are more driven by inner passion, others might be motivated by a sense of purpose to better the world. Neither are necessarily better or worse than the other. But it does help to know your own motivations in order to shape a life (and job) that reflects them.
However, though meaning is important, it’s not necessarily required—or even possible at times—to get that from work. Having a job purely for the sake of income is OK too. Some people have no problem compartmentalizing themselves in a healthy way, deriving meaning from their family, their hobbies or other activities outside of work (to these people I humbly ask … please show me your ways). Hopefully the job at least provides support and space to pursue those interests.
3. Opportunities for growth
Woke Salaryman suggests that people usually define growth as either acquiring new skills or responsibilities, which overlooks network and perspective.
Networking at a good company offers the chance to find quality mentors, clients and partners, all of which can lead to future opportunities.
Perspective is equally vital as the world becomes more connected. The open-mindedness gained through being exposed to new perspectives can help someone become more empathetic, collaborative and versatile … rather than simply tech savvy.
4. Money isn’t everything
Of course, the caveat to all this privilege: Though these choices are certainly aspirational, they are not exactly accessible to everyone. Furthermore, money might not be the only reason to choose a job, but it does play a major role in our lives. What the comic is really preaching is to ask ourselves, “What will help me achieve a life well lived?” When we ask ourselves this simple question, money no longer becomes the ultimate or only resource.
If you would like to take a look at the full comic strip, you can check out Woke Salaryman’s website here.