Blog & Resources

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Think about when you were a kid and what you wanted to be when you grew up.  Did you want to be a fireman? An astronaut? A cowboy?  When’s the last time you heard about a cowboy job opening?

What defines our aspirations is completely subjective and subject to change.  Maybe you wanted to be a fireman because they looked heroic and your mother and father placed value on virtues of bravery.  So how exactly did you end up as an accountant for a pension firm? 

As we grow up, and become more pragmatic, how we define our perfect job starts to be grounded more in reality, and less in fantasy.  As we realize the practical importance of needing an income to 

survive, it is not uncommon that we become guided less by our imaginations.  But that’s not to say the latter must cease completely for the former to thrive.  The ideal job, rather, strikes a healthy balance between the two – between income and culture.

So while cowboy may be that fantasy-addled child’s dream job, his parents’ idea of the perfect job might be as an architect for a well-reputed architecture firm – one with an easy commute and a full benefits package.   The answer to the question “What will I be?” is an open-ended one – meaning that whether you do exactly what five-year-old you wanted to do, or if you make it up as you go along – where you end up is still up to you.  In fact, if you take the common characteristics of a cowboy – self-motivated, travel-prone, guided by strong ethics – you might discover that a Quality Control Analyst is pretty close to what you set out to be all along.

The “Perfect” Job

The truth is -- there is really no such thing as a perfect job, but rather an ideal one.  What determines a job’s idealness is a qualitative and quantitative set of positive attributes that meet the criteria of what you seek from life at the moment which you seek it.  Which is to say—the ideal job is completely based on you, as you are, right now.  And as we grow and change our minds and create new aspirations, you may find that how you are now is continually subject to change.  Your answer to the question “Where do you want to be in five years?” could change drastically in five years’ time.

When Hollister Staffing’s recruiters talk to candidates they interview, they are always trying to get a sense of what that jobseeker is looking for in their next opportunity, to make sure they are indeed trying to find the right match between company and candidate.  After all, it’s in no one’s best interest to place a candidate at a company where they won’t thrive.  

To get a sense of what a jobseeker ultimately wants out of their next job opportunity, recruiters must look at all sides of the spectrum.  Here are 6 factors that can help identify the ideal job for virtually any person:

  • Culture – Companies want employees who are a good culture-fit and will stay long-term, while at the same time, prospective jobseekers are looking for a company that is willing to accept and embrace their personality and individuality. The importance of company culture is directly measurable: the average turnover rate at a company with a great culture is 13.9%, compared to a 48.4% turnover rate at a company with a less-empowering culture.

What makes a culture great varies from person to person.  The goal in any case is to create a sustainable working environment that effectively supports every part of the company.  For some people, this looks like a completely professional environment where procedure defines the day and little gets devoted to idle chatter.  For others, an awesome culture might include more personalized styles of management, a casual working atmosphere, and maybe a few extra creature comforts like Beer Fridays and Free Breakfast Mondays.  Each culture is only right for the right person, so understanding what type of person will complement each style of culture is wholly critical for every job placement.

The culture at Hollister is about bringing your whole self to work, rather than separating work and life.  This means living in the moment more often, not counting the minutes on the clock, and being driven to live up to the best 

possible version of yourself both personally and professionally.  The end result is more satisfied employees, happier people, and an overall more fulfilling company to work for.

  • Challenge – A big part of what makes a job fulfilling, especially for tech pros, is that it is also challenging. A huge threat to employee retention is when the work is repetitive and non-stimulating.  Fertile minds crave ever-changing scenery and work tasks, especially when it allows their skillset to grow and open up wonderous new possibilities.  And this doesn’t just have to apply to software engineering – there’s no reason a standard mailroom or warehouse position can’t be structured with more engaging elements to break up some of the repetition.

  • Advancement – Does this job offer growth potential? If not, the risk of turnover will be a lot higher; over 70% of employees say it is imperative that they leave their companies to advance their careers.  Employees who aren’t given the chance to truly thrive within their organization will inevitably outgrow their company.  Look at it this way: if after a year or two an employee is still locking eyes with a brick wall but are aware of how much they have to offer, they will eventually seek out a company that can give them the advancement opportunities they so eagerly want.  All it takes is a lateral jump to a ladder with more vacant rungs.  Companies with lower rates of retention can benefit from adopting a new hiring strategy that better acknowledges their employees’ talents and has a built-in career development program.
  • Location – When you look at Boston and its surrounding neighborhoods, where anywhere from 15 to 58% of its residents (depending on which neighborhood) rely on public transportation to get to work each day, location matters. While it’s easier to pitch a farther commute to someone who drives, some jobs will simply be inaccessible to candidates.  For instance, more than half of East Boston residents will be off-limits if your company is located in Western Mass.  When this fact automatically cancels out a lot of quality talent, one solution could be to offer more work-from-home or a travel reimbursement program.  In fact, companies that offer remote working options have shown a 25% greater retention rate than those that don’t.
  • Schedule – Another question recruiters ask potential candidates is, how much flexibility do you require in your schedule? This often helps to separate contract-oriented workers from full-time employment-seekers.   If you are here for the long haul, have no immediate plans to move out-of-state, and want to work a guaranteed 40 hours/week, then the latter is for you.  (And full-time employment certainly has its incentives.)  But if you are someone who needs flexibility, loves to travel, or loves a constantly-changing work landscape—then contract work may be your true calling.  (As we’ve previously reported, the gig economy makes up 35% of our workforce, and that number is only growing; and if you are an employer that accommodates freelance employers, the benefits can be in your favor too.)
  • Money – There’s no getting around it: adult humans need money to live. While it’s not the only or most important factor to consider, it’s definitely a big one.  When negotiating salary for any given job title, the price must be right to attract the most qualified candidate.  Taking into consideration the average cost of living in Boston, student loan payments, and skill level – making sure the numbers line up will help ensure the candidates do too.

Does your team collectively thrive, and do you thrive within your team?  Are you in your ideal job, or are you still reaching for it?  Life is a work in progress. If you do not feel like everything is in perfect alignment, you can make gentle shifts towards your ideal; something that satisfies you, as you are, right now. 


For even more in-depth findings on the benefits of a good culture, check out this infographic