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Vast Majority of Americans Say They Have the "Ideal Job"

Andrew Price | GOOD

March 01, 2010

According to a new Gallup poll, seven in 10 Americans say they have the ideal job for themselves. Color me astounded.

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One thing this poll shows is that Americans don’t know the definition of “ideal” because this is obviously totally crazy from a literal standpoint. Anyone who says they have the ideal job would have a marginally better job if they got a 10 percent raise. Therefore, their current job can’t be ideal. “Ideal” is a really high bar.

I think respondents probably weren’t thinking critically about whether their jobs were “ideal” per se, but rather expressing a general feeling that their work was a good fit. And semantic details aside, it’s very nice to know there’s such broad satisfaction. We spend a lot of time at work and our jobs are one of the defining elements of our lives.

The survey also showed the percentage of people who say they have the “ideal job” by sector:

idealjobsector

I think what the top three on this list indicate is that autonomy, some interaction with the natural world, and stability are very important for job satisfaction. It’s also encouraging to see that people who do “installation and repair” work are so high up on this list. Repair and maintenance jobs are going to be more and more important as we try to extend the lifetimes of products rather than replace them, and focus on fostering those jobs that can’t be outsourced. It’s nice to know that work is likely to make people happy.

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