Career Poll: What’s Your Top Career Priority?

Had another poll catch fire on LinkedIn this past month, attracting 342 votes from people around the world, versus last month’s poll which (for whatever reason) only compelled 42 people to speak up and cast their vote.  Still not sure why some of these surveys take off so much more than others, but hey, the more the merrier!

Here was the question I posed:

“Aside from compensation, what is the single most important priority you’d place on choosing a job?”

The five response choices were:

1) Opportunities for promotion/advancement
2) Job security; stable company; no layoffs
3) Meaningful work that makes a difference
4) Work/life balance; decent hours & schedule
5) Enjoying the work you perform each day

Again, a total of 342  people cast their vote on this particular topic, and while you’ll see a small graphic of the results below you can click here to access the full set of results.


The Analysis?
  As I strongly suspected, this poll divided the audience quite a bit, with all five of the choices attracting a healthy number of votes.  More importantly, I was pleased to see so many people weigh in with written comments, expressing their feelings on the matter of career priorities and which elements lead to maximum career satisfaction.  In fact, in lieu of a lot of analysis, let me just repost some of the things that the poll respondents had to say about the topic:

Being happy with a job and other things which make your life comfort are more important than having a high salary…

Enjoy the work you do and the people you work with daily.  The people factor is as important as the work.

Enjoying the work you perform each day, not because you actually enjoy it in the practical sense, but because you enjoy the value you obtain from the role through challenging projects and experiences.  All I look for in a job are transferable skills, stories I can talk about in my next interview and quantifiable accomplishments.  This is probably because I am fresh out of university and planning to move industries fairly frequently so may not apply to people in for the long haul.  Anything else, such as great co-workers, is a secondary bonus.

Enjoying the work you do each day.  It’s that guiding principle that brings success into a company.  Notice how every company is adapting to that culture leaps to higher ground.

The benefits that go along with the happiness of what makes the atmosphere enjoyable can be the deciding factor between the linear application or a jump over the fence.  Balance, equality, respect, and being appreciated is what makes people fly at what they enjoy doing and is an example of a company who strives to excel above the status quo.  If the company culture is not one that encourages contribution and fosters a positive team environment then all else is secondary; that said, exclusion is not the way to build the reputation of the future.

Enjoyable work by a landslide.  Though I would add that it is critical that personal values line up with the work and organization.

I only would work at the companies that have the best service in the Industry and wants to play as a team.  I love working with my industy partners.  I am blessed that I enjoy going to work!

I think I’d vote for ‘clear goals and objectives, challenging but achievable targets’.  Mix that with the one I voted for – ‘meaningful work that makes a difference’ and that would probably be my ideal environment.  You’re not going to enjoy ALL the work that you do, but if you can feel good because you can see the benefit gained from doing it, that helps – a lot.

Excellent question and even better choices for answers.  Meaningful work is super important, but I had to give the nod to enjoying what you do.  Sooner or later , if you don’t enjoy your work that is 1/3 to 1./2 of your waking day— It will get to you and wear you out.

I’d even add great coworkers.  If I am going to spend all day with people, I have to like the majority of them to be happy.

Great questions.  I would add one more item – an excellent boss – in my case the CEO (since I typically report to the CEO).  What makes a great CEO? In short, a leader who can (and does) make decisions, who has a plan and goals for the company.

Now, to add a little of my own spin to the mix, I can see why “enjoying the work you do each day” (the most popular answer) was an obvious front-runner to attract votes.  Who wouldn’t want to enjoy their work, after all?  Doesn’t that sound terrific?  To be honest, however, I don’t think I worded that choice very well, in hindsight.  What I had meant to imply by that particular answer choice was to have people explore how much value they’d place on performing actual work tasks they found fun and enjoyable — NOT just the general concept of whether you enjoy your job, overall, as an “outcome” of sorts.  For example, would somebody who loves skiing pick a career as a ski instructor, simply for the love of being on the slopes each day, even if the job didn’t pay all that well — or offer a lot of upside potential down the road?  I can see, though, why a lot of people jumped at the idea of “work enjoyment” in general, given how I phrased things.

At any rate, water under the bridge at this point, and I’m just glad a lot of people were motivated to think hard about their priorities and the real tradeoffs involved in most job/career choices.  From my vantage point, it’s naive to think that you’re going to “have it all” in any one position and that all of your worldly wants and needs are going to be satisfied.  Instead, I think the trick is to decide what’s most important to you at this stage of your life and career — and then go after it, with gusto, weighing the different tradeoffs involved, as I discussed in depth in this one blog article of mine from a while back.

As for the coming month?  You’ll find my latest LinkedIn poll question here, asking: “If you’re job hunting at present, or have done so recently, what emotion do/did you most commonly experience?”

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