Many years ago, one of my friends and I were talking about the pros and cons of our current jobs. This friend of mine was well educated with a master’s degree in engineering from MIT and was very successful in his career.
What he said totally shocked me: “If I have a job where I am happy with it 10% of the time, I feel like I have a good job”.
Wow! Talking about feeling like your life was being wasted. Here was the perfect definition of what one person felt was success. And to me this felt like a total waste of one’s life.
Since then, I have always tried to evaluate my various jobs I have had in terms of how happy they make me and how the job contributes so much to that success.
Without a doubt, the best job I ever had was a Battalion Commander of a battalion of 700 Soldiers in an Army division stationed in Germany during the Cold War.
The job of this battalion was to provide battlefield communication to units of an infantry fivision of about 20,000 men and women stationed in West Germany. While the division was stationed behind the Rhine River, if hostilities appeared imminent, the units of the division would quickly deploy up onto the Eastern border of Germany where an enemy incursion was likely to occur. Obviously, speed of deployment while maintaining constant communication was vital!
As battalion commander, I was totally responsible for all aspects of the Soldiers life while they were stationed in a foreign country. Such things as the training, housing , feeding, discipline, education, counseling, and guidance of these soldiers were things I needed to focus upon so we could achieve our goals of providing that needed communications.
I had 25 officers to assist me, and one of my additional tasks was to train these officers for higher positions and more responsibility as they progressed upwards in the Army. To do this. I also had some very well qualified Non-Commissioned officers who were the experts in how the Army worked.
What a great job! Totally responsible for providing a defined task, having the resources to achieve the needed results, and having almost total control of those resources so achievement could be attained. My happiness level with this job had to be close to 100%
I had this job for two years, 1976-78. Since then, I have had many jobs, ranging from leading about 1,500 people spread throughout 17 Southern States in the operational area of MCI telecommunications, to being the County Judge of Rockwall County Texas.
Totally different jobs with totally different responsibilities. While each was different , the basics of what made it a good and happy job for me tracked all the way back to that one 100% job I had many years ago.
Everyone establishes their own criteria as to what they consider in their job satisfaction level. Sometimes things don’t necessarily work out that all the criteria can be met in a particular job.
Sometimes circumstances make it impossible to change if everything is not working out perfectly. But I would offer that accepting a 10% level of satisfaction in a job, as my friend was inclined to do, is not the way to have a happy life.
There is an old management saying that I have heard many people use when faced with a dilemma such as dissatisfaction with a particular job. That saying is “Change, Endure, or Leave…and the worst is to Endure”. Think about that if you are not happy with the way things are going for you.
Jerry Hogan is a former Rockwall County Judge and can be reached at214-394-4033