What I want

I graduated university over five years ago and have been working full-time since January 2010 with a short break when I moved to the UK.

Since mid-December I have been jobless and on the hunt for a new opportunity. It seems that my skills are in demand but I have yet to find a new job, although hopefully it won’t be that much longer.

Before losing my job, I hadn’t been entirely happy with my situation for a while. I was considering finding a new job but I also found myself questioning my … path, I suppose. I found myself looking at the big picture, wondering where I was going and where my career would lead me.

All I want is to be happy, in a role that challenges me and doesn’t bore me but that doesn’t ask too much of me either. I want to work for a company that values my contribution (and remunerates it accordingly), where I am treated with respect and there is a balance between what I am giving and taking. I want to be part of a team that works together and sticks together with managers sticking up for their team as well. I want to work for a company where I get the sense that I am appreciated, that I am not just one of many or easily replaced.

Having some real benefits would be nice – by real benefits I mean company sick pay, maybe a pension scheme with the employer meeting my contributions, but mainly sick pay. I don’t want to have to worry about getting sick – not that I do very often, having only had one sick day in the past 3 years, but it’s a little unnerving knowing you’d lose your income if you were to become sick or if you were in an accident.

In my industry working overtime is very common. It is probably not be a view popular with employers but I believe that overtime should only be necessary every now and then. If there is an urgent deadline, sure, I am willing to stay late. But it shouldn’t be a daily occurrence – to me that is a sign that there is a problem with management or that the company is understaffed. Given that jobs in my industry are not that well paid and overtime is not paid either (if they were or if it was, it would be a different matter), in my opinion it isn’t right of a company or manager to expect employees to do overtime all the time. Wanting a healthy work life balance doesn’t make you a bad employee and it doesn’t make you lazy.

I am willing to work hard and go the extra mile for a job, but beyond my contracted hours, I expect my employer to appreciate it and be grateful for this, not consider it a given.

My time is valuable. I only have so much of it every day, and I don’t consider my career to be the purpose of my life. I work to live, I don’t live to work.

Beyond having a job that feels rewarding and makes me happy and pays a decent salary, I don’t have huge career ambitions. It’s not that I don’t have ambitions, but I have no desire to be a CEO one day. I don’t want my professional life to be that stressful. I don’t want it to be what I live for. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, is there?

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11 thoughts on “What I want

  1. Unfortunately, there seems to be a common misconception that working longer hours equates to being a better employee. To me, it means that that employee lacks time management skills and focus. I wish more supervisors would recognize this and encourage employees to maintain a better and more efficient work-life balance. Good luck on the job hunt but first: enjoy your honeymoon!

    • I know, right? It is so frustrating that so many employers seem to think that getting your work done during normal working hours is a bad thing. Having a healthy work-life balance is better for the employer too, I think, as it makes for happier employees.

  2. I don’t think any of this is at all out of the ordinary. I would be very wary of taking a job without paid sick time, paid vacation time, significant contributions to health insurance (prolly not so much of an issue with you), and a significant match for retirement/pension/401k contributions.

    I was actually offered a job a few weeks ago with a significantly higher salary than what I’m making right now but zero benefits, and I turned them down flat. I am not willing to give up the benefits piece, it brings me too much peace of mind.

    I hope you find something.

    xox

    • You’re right, it is a little different here. We have something called statutory sick pay which you are legally entitled to but it’s a fraction of a normal salary, so if you were sick for a longer period of time, it could cause financial issues. Many companies offer company sick pay, e.g. they continue to pay your normal salary for 4 weeks, then 75% for another 6 weeks etc. The minimum paid vacation time in the UK is 20 days + 8 public holidays so I am not really complaining about that (in my last job I had 33 days total). Some jobs here do offer private health care & dental as a benefit but it’s just a nice thing to have, as the NHS covers medical treatment and except for sometimes longer waits, I can’t really complain.
      I think the UK falls somewhere in the middle, Germany is more generous with benefits such as sick pay and maternity pay etc. and you usually get more time off as well (often 30 days plus 10-12 public holidays is the norm) and you are much better protected against losing your job in Germany. I wish we had that here, but I know we are miles better off than the US still.

  3. I wish you good luck with the job hunt. All the points you made above (adequate pay, paid sick leave, being treated with respect) are valid. Hope it will work out for you.

  4. No, I don’t think it’s too much to ask. In fact, I think more employers/companies should focus on the life-work balance. I recently watched an episode of “Adam ruins everything” and it was argued that we could be just as productive on a shorter workday and that the 8-hour work day is kind of out-dated.

    I like what I do, but I also work to live… not the other way around

    Have a great honeymoon and I hope you find a new job soon.

    • Thanks for your comment San! I wouldn’t be surprised and hope that employers will become more open to these new concepts and ways of working.

  5. I’ve stop here by coincidence and I glad I did. It is very nice and interesting how people share my point of view too. Also I would like to say I am in a similar situation, Spanish lass in Edinburgh willing to find I job, but not any job. I want to find a job where i get paid for what I do for a reasonable price. Keep trying and good luck!!!

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