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The deciding factor

Dog on a mission
Dog on a mission
Photo by WPA Pool/Getty Images

Many factors go into finding a job and most of those have been covered in my prior essays. Word of mouth, search engines, professional recruiters are all there to help you find a job and I've identified some pretty terrific examples. You name it and there's somebody out there who is ready to tell you why this is the job for you! What no one (except very good mentors or more seasoned friends) tells you is that quite often what keeps you in a job is not necessarily what attracted you to the job in the first place. You've heard of serial monogamy? Well, the same phenomenon exists for job-seekers who go from job to job chasing the illusion that This Time Will Be Different. This time the people will be nicer, the pay will be better, the mission/purpose/goal of the organization will align with the stars, God, and Everything Right so that I stay. Forever. Like dust in a corner or mold on cheese.

However, like a 40-year-old on the Quest to find the Ultimate Marriage, so are desperate job hunters on the Quest for the Perfect Job. You've heard of the 20-year-old with the List for a Future Spouse. S/he must be good-looking, rich, funny, smart, loves pets, loves children, has nice parents, and ready to get married the second you meet.

But most of us know that unlike our much younger selves, the List for a 40-year-old is a lot more basic: S/he's breathing.

Is the same principle true for jobs? Is it just sufficient enough that when you come to work people aren't trying to shoot you (unless you're a cop), the lights are on, and there is adequate heat/air?

Or is there more to work than creature comforts? I read an interesting quote a few years ago that has stuck in my head because I have discovered it to be true. People don't leave jobs, people leave people. The trick is to know when you are running FROM something versus running TOWARDS something. With the first example, you inevitably look back to see if the thing you're running from is catching up with you, but when you're running towards something, you look ahead and stretch out as far as you can for the thing you most desperately want - your deciding factor. The reason you get up each morning - ready to live. Whatever that is.

There are two things that interfering (but well-intentioned) friends, society, bad weather and even just plain old bad luck will never thwart: An animal on a mission or a person who knows s/he wants.

Which when you think about it, is the same thing, isn't it?

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