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Cover image for Do You Have a Good Job?

Do You Have a Good Job?

antonfrattaroli profile image Anton Frattaroli ・4 min read

Its not easy to recognize the value of your job when all you have to compare it to are your past jobs. Bad past jobs will make an employee over-value their current job. A lack of experience can lead to under-valuing a job. The definition of a good job hasn't always been the same but the responsibility of making jobs good has always lied with managers. A good manager knows what makes a job a good one.

Individual Attention From Your Manager

Being successful in your job is a responsibility shared by you and your manager. If you're not getting regular one-on-one face time with your manager then you're not being respected as an employee. Having successful one-on-one meetings is a widely discussed and marketed topic in management. Even if you have some trouble communicating in a one-on-one situation, your manager should have some tools and tactics to start and keep you improving. Your manager should make you feel heard and not forgotten.

Career Progression

Dramatic changes in markets are commonplace today. Because of that companies can't guarantee lifelong employment for good employees the way they used to. In response, companies should be striving to instead guarantee increased employability. When you've outgrown the demands of your current position you should have the skills and training you need to take that next step. In an ideal world, you and your manager would agree on when that is and the company should be lifting you up on your way out having been fully prepared for your departure.

Transparency and Engagement

Do you understand and agree with the reasons behind the work that gets done? Nothing hurts your chances for success quite like being given partial information, or being told "just do it." If the "why" of the work isn't communicated, understood, and agreed with then its importance will be lost on those contributing - leading to poor contributions.

Professional Communication

Does your company have a common way of discussing professional interactions and approaches to work? Many systems come across as goofy personality tests but are meant to provide a common language for team building. It might take a leap of faith to hop on board but if used appropriately they can enhance your team's ability to communicate and empathize with each other.

Developer experience

Many have argued that user experience is priority number one. It acts like an emotional safety net for when things go wrong. Are there obstacles standing between you and digging into the meat of your work? Leaders will be looking for ways to improve the process so that your ability to produce is as uninhibited as possible.

Single-discipline Teams

When you work in a team of people practicing your same craft, opportunities to collaborate, learn, and share are readily available. Your manager can focus on a deep knowledge of managing one type of employee rather than spreading themselves thin playing catch-up to understand how to develop employees of various disciplines.

Team Performance

Your team needs to agree on a simple way to collectively measure their performance and how your manager can work with the team to improve quantity and quality metrics over time. Working together for these shared goals helps you understand what your role in the company is providing and its place in the greater scheme of things.

Regular Team Meetings

Collaboration and continuous improvement doesn't happen unless you make the time for it. This time can also be used to refresh the reasons why the work is important work, to reinvigorate and motivate the team.

Your Work

Just because you know [insert legacy tech here] doesn't mean that you took the job to work on that. Your manager should make it a priority for you to be working on either your core responsibilities or branching out into areas you want to explore. And when you succeed in doing the work you like, you deserve to be recognized for your accomplishment.

Inter-team Teamwork

It can be a pain point for a team to depend on another team for progress even if they're responsive. Your manager should be working to replace dependencies on other teams with greater cooperation. If a team of developers is regularly asking a security team for new service accounts, let the developers create their own service accounts while introducing a method to allow the security team to audit the accounts for compliance.

Benefits

Health, Dental, Vision, 401k; holidays, vacation, and sick leave: pretty standard benefits. Are executives making some effort to provide more? Flexible (Health) Spending Accounts, 401k matching, bonuses (profit sharing, stock options), flexible working hours and remote opportunities, gym access, and maternity/paternity benefits are some areas where companies can do more to award their employees for their contributions. Human Resources should always be asking "at this point, can we commit to doing more?"

"People leave managers, not companies."

It's your manager's job to make sure your position is a good job. I believe that a good job doesn't need to excel in every category, but at least address each one and aim for continually improving on that. In a truly good job, you'll always be getting more out than you put in.

Discussion

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erikpischel profile image
Erik Pischel

Those regular one-on-ones seems to be a thing ... maybe in the US but for 16 years working in Germany I haven't seen it yet except a kind of performance review once a year. Thanks to matrix organisation, my manager has rarely worked on the same project with me so he hasn't been able to give direct feedback. I think this is unfortunate.

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mattdevio profile image
Matt G

Your article targets this indirectly, but company vision is something I am going to consider when evaluating future employment. If your management can't answer 'where do you see the organization / product in 2/3/4/5 years', I would strongly reconsider the opportunity. If they don't have a clear idea of where you are headed, you are signing up for a mystery ride. Vision changes can bring a lot of discourse.

I will say that Career Progression is not that high on my check list. I am not sure if this is fact, but I heard it said that in most cases moving laterally is more effective then moving vertically. If you want something more, go find it.

Probably worth noting that I am a youngish developer with no family responsibilities. When I get older, I will probably consider that more.

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david_j_eddy profile image
David J Eddy

Nice article Anton! You make some excellent points.