I continue to use writing to process my thoughts on returning to the working world after this year on the road.

Back in March I wrote that I’d been working to capture a minimal set of highest-order “environmental criteria” I’d like to be sure are met by my next career move. In that writing, I decided that job satisfaction for me is less about what I’m doing and more about the environment in which I’m doing it.

I wanted to keep the list short and succinct. Three bullets, all tight single sentences. I find enforcing that sort of brevity helps me avoid the long-windedness I’m prone to. In the end the below is what I’ve landed on and am happy with. A bit more about each underneath, for my own sake.

  1. No longer “on call:” No standing expectation to be available (email, text, cell) outside working hours
  2. Lesss hectic calendar: Fewer meetings & more time for doing, innovating, giving back
  3. Healthier work/life balance: Respect for sanctity & prioritization of family time

Reflecting, I don’t think any are too bold, unrealistic, or read as entitled. Some are certainly “whiplash,” where I’m essentially saying I don’t want to go back to how it was, but I think that’s OK because they’re also honest hopes I have in what a different work environment may be able to offer.

In regard to #1, I really enjoy helping people so being in customer service/support is a natural match. Having to make service of those customers higher priority than my evenings, weekends, and family time, however, sucks. With room for reasonable exception, I want less corporate intrusion into non-working hours.

#2 then. Corporate types feel a sense of status from how overbooked we are. Busy busy busy – that’s how you’ll know I’m a successful person. I’ll tell you about the 5am/5pm Sunday meetings I have with the factory in Vietnam, and even though it appears I’m griping, I’m also bragging. I need much less of this, honestly because I get caught up in it and become it.

For #3, it’s easy. Cultures and bosses who get off on the opposite of numbers 1 and 2 above will fail to be able to meet this criteria. I understand that some folks are fine deriving all their value and satisfaction from busyness and stress, and that’s great but it’s not what I want to be a part of. Simple.



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