The Perfect Job

Does the perfect job exist?

I’ve had a number of wonderful jobs and spent a lot of time thinking about that question. I’ve come to the conclusion that perfect jobs do exist, for a season.

I’m sure we each have a different take on what makes a job perfect. I find myself using the word “love” a lot. When I love the work I’m doing, the people I’m working with, and the product or problem I’m working on, it really is magical. There is a certain energy when you walk through the door and an addictive sense of satisfaction when you walk out. Each day, it seems, you do something you didn’t know you were capable of. You are surrounded by friends. The work is meaningful and the momentum palpable.

I consider myself blessed to have had that experience. Even in the perfect job, though, things inevitably change. Cherished coworkers move on to something new, managers shift, momentum falters as new problems and competitors surface. Or maybe everything stays the same except you. A relationship or new addition shifts your priorities or your curiosity begins pulling you in a different direction.

Having tasted that, though, it’s hard not to chase it again and again. And if we happen to lose sight of it, we’re regularly reminded it’s out there, waiting for us, if we only follow our bliss and do what we love. New jobs are announced with great fanfare and quickly followed by celebratory posts about “My first month at _________.” It’s the honeymoon photos of our professional lives.

More often than not, the honeymoon comes to an end and about a year later, the cycle is repeated. When I’ve talked to friends who’ve actually had one of my dream jobs or worked at one of my dream companies, the stories never match the highlight reel. People are human, work is complicated, poor decisions are made, and success leads to bureaucracy.

I admire people who embrace that. They enjoy the challenge in front of them, regardless of notoriety. They pour everything they have into the work and those they work with. They understand there's reward in diligence, longevity, and solving hard problems.

They’ve shown me that the people who aren’t chasing the perfect job are the ones most likely to find it.