What Makes A Job A GREAT JOB?

Your Workplace

When you start to ask yourself what makes a job a GREAT job, the answer to your question is not money, even if you think it is. Money matters, but it is not the only thing – or even the main thing  – to consider, when you are trying to find a GREAT job.

There is no definition of what makes a GREAT job, because each person has a different idea of what makes a particular job GREAT. Have you ever thought seriously about what would be a GREAT job in your judgement? You need to. How will you know what to look for, if you don’t?

Here are five things to consider when you are trying to work out what makes a GREAT job in your estimation.


This may seem a strange choice for the first item on the list. However, if you dislike living in a city, and your current job keeps you in one, then you are unlikely to think of your job as a GREAT job. If you do not enjoy city life you may want to live in a seaside town or somewhere in the country, not where you live now. Whatever you want, you will see a job in the wrong location as something that gets in the way of how you wish to live your life.

Becoming GREAT

Decide in what sort of  location you would like to settle.  Be specific in your choice of places. Try looking for jobs there.

Os your job a great job?

Organisational Culture

You probably did not think about organisational culture when you accepted your current role. If you did, did you give organisational culture sufficient consideration? Most people get this one badly wrong.

Is there a “blame” culture where you work now? Are managers people who police the staff or micro-manage every one’s efforts? Do they pounce on you when you make a mistake? Do they tell every one you have done something foolish, when one of your plans does not work? Do you find yourself being criticised for NOT doing something, when no one has asked you to do the task in the first place?

Organisations that blame and perpetually criticise their staff can be very successful and they sometimes pay high salaries. The people who work there  often become demoralised and unhappy because they are always being told they are in the wrong, lazy or stupid.

You can learn a lot about an organisation’s culture just by watching and listening. The statements above are very revealing about that particular organisation’s culture. If your organisation is not as described above, were you lucky when you accepted the post, or did you make a conscious decision about culture before accepting?

Becoming GREAT

For the future, think carefully about accepting a post in an organisation that does not seem to value its staff and where the culture does not support the workforce effectively. It is doubtful whether you would consider any post in such an organisation as GREAT. If you are already in an organisation that does not take pride in supporting its workforce, consider how long you intend to stay.

Job Requirements

You may think that jobs with clearly defined requirements are more likely to be GREAT jobs. That could be the case, but there is no guarantee.

When you think about your current job, or about a job that you would like, do you also ask:

“Is the job do-able? Can it be done by one person?”


This is not the same as asking if you can do the job. In some organisations lots of work is piled on one job holder.

This is because:

“… there is no one else who can do this.”

“… you are a capable person.”

“…you never say ‘no’.”

If this sounds like the sort of thing that happens to you, you probably work long hours, you take work home at night and you hate holidays because you fall further behind, if you take even a day off.

Becoming GREAT

You know you will want to steer clear of jobs similar to those indicated above, when you next move on, but you are unlikely to be aware of the enormity of a role until you take it on. A job could look like a GREAT job, until you try to do it. When everyone is vastly overworked, and miserable as a result, continue with your job search or start it.  If your own organisation does not support its people then do you intend to stay?

Your Capabilities

There are some very important questions to consider that will help you to see how well you really know yourself.

  • Do you know what you are good at?
  • Do you know where you excel? (That is about being better than good.)
  • Do you know what you cannot do that could be within the remit of your current job or your next role?
  • Do you know which tasks you like doing?
  • Do you know what you hate doing?
  • Do you know what you need to learn more about?
  • Are you working on your development needs?

It is worth thinking about how your current job fares, when you make a judgement about what you like and dislike doing at present.

Know yourself. Make sure you know what expertise you have. Do not hide your shortcomings, they always come out. If you think you need particular skills you do not have, try to get some training in the right field. Take responsibility for obtaining the skills you need.

Becoming GREAT

When you are sure of your capabilities, match them to your current role, or to any role you think about taking on.


Money has to come into your decision-making activities, now and in the future. Be honest with yourself. Does your current job pay well? (You decide.)

Can you live on your current salary? If you cannot, you can think about another job but you can also think about lifestyle adjustments.

Money And Your Thinking

There is a big difference between wanting to earn more money in order to make ends meet and wanting more money for taking on extra responsibilities. You must be clear why you want more money. What will having more money really mean to you?

Finally . . .

You could add several more criteria to the list above. What really matters is that you think about more than money when you are considering whether you have, or are about to apply for, a GREAT job.