Does Your Job Match Your Work Style?
By Mark Swartz
Monster Contributing Writer
Job satisfaction is a tricky thing. Ideally, your occupation would be consistent with your personality and skills. It would pay reasonably. And offer bright prospects for the future.
There’s also another key factor to consider: your “work style.” Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team? Would you rather be in a fast paced job with lots of autonomy, or in a slower one with a great deal of structure?
Your work style may change over the course of your career. It’s influenced by your stage of life and personal circumstances. Here are some typical work style preferences, plus tips for matching them to relevant jobs and work environments.
Working Alone vs. Working in Teams
People who like to work on their own don’t necessarily dislike other people. They do generally spurn idle chit chat with colleagues and time-wasting meetings. Also they prefer to be measured according to their individual output. Some applicable jobs include writer or editor, software developer, data analyst, and truck driver.
Social employees would rather be around other people. They thrive on group work and interdependence. There is less need for individual recognition so long as the team performs well. They organize company softball leagues and other after-work gatherings. Appealing jobs include marketing and public relations, event planner, restaurant or retail manager.
Risk Taker vs. Security Seeker
Like a healthy dose of risk in your daily work? It’s available in all shapes and sizes. You could, for example, become a hazardous materials removal worker, or exterior house painter. Stock brokers’ fortunes swing hourly with the markets. Police officers and firefighters may put their lives on the line protecting others.
Security seekers are what the rest of us are, more or less. We take jobs in larger companies that have less likelihood of going bankrupt. Or join unions to preserve our employment tenure. And choose careers that are in demand, not faddish or prone to disappear. Of course, employment for life is no longer guaranteed. Even government and education jobs have been hit by cutbacks. Security is now a relative term.
Dirty vs. Clean
“It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.” This refrain could apply to a host of occupations where grime comes with the territory. Consider auto mechanics and plant maintenance crews. Their hands and clothes get filthy fast. Construction workers, janitors and air duct cleaners; messiness pervades their workplaces.
What about clean freaks? Well, there’s always the so-called white collar jobs in pristine offices. But let’s take it a step further. For the hyper-immaculate, where even a speck of dust could spoil the work environment, there are “clean room” jobs. They’re mostly found in technology sectors. Semiconductor manufacturing, biotech and aerospace production facilities, all must be free of possible contaminants.
Behind The Scenes vs. Front And Center
Have you noticed that when movie credits role, the names of actors flash by quickly, followed by ten minutes worth of support staff? Gaffer, best boy, set builder and costume designer. There are many more behind-the-scenes roles than there are for actors. Staying out of the spotlight is the way most of us earn a living. Quietly going about your job proficiently is the Canadian way.
For those who don’t mind the attention, many careers put you front and center. Trainers and developers, teachers and professors...their office consists of a stage or classroom. Not all such jobs play to large audiences though. A salesperson works one on one (or with small groups). Estheticians, business analysts and lawyers spend time in front of clients. So long as you don’t flinch at the prospect of public exposure, these sorts of jobs may be for you.
Additional Work Styles
Just a few of the many work styles have been covered here. Some other common ones are as follows:
· fast vs. slower
· multi-tasking vs. doing one thing at a time
· generalist vs. specialist
· physical exertion vs. mind energy
· managing people vs. hands-on productivity
· 9 to 5 vs. flexible schedule
You can learn more about the work styles of a particular role at the job interview. Ask questions relating to expected pace and autonomy. Inquire about specific working conditions. Find out how your performance will be measured.
True job satisfaction is about more than money and security. Matching your preferred work styles to relevant roles provides intrinsic rewards too.