Penelope Trunk, cofounder of Brazen Careerist, would like to save you some time.
“Some people intuitively know how to find a job that feels good. Most of us spend the first half of our lives trying to learn what feels right and the second half of our lives trying to get it,” she writes in a column on Business Insider. “…The bottom line of a good job is that it makes you feel like you have unlimited energy for your work because it’s so fulfilling.”
Citing research from The Economist, Trunk says the perfect job should provide these four things:
1. Clear goals.
This is not to be underestimated. If you have no idea what you’re aiming for, there’s almost no way to succeed — or to measure your success once you achieve it.
2. A sense of control.
The CDC lists a lack of sense of control as a risk factor for stress, along with bad-job markers like routine and repetitive tasks, a hectic schedule, and assignments that don’t utilize the worker’s skills.
3. Unambiguous feedback.
This is the other side of the issue of setting clear goals. If your manager can’t express how well (or poorly) you’re doing, you’ll have no idea if you hit the mark.
4. A little stretch, but not defeat.
We’re happiest when we’re learning and developing new skills, provided that we’re not asked to jump so many levels of competency that we feel doomed from the start.
Trunk’s full breakdown of these qualities — and how they can apply to both your personal and professional life — is worth a read, either at Business Insider or on her blog.
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