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So far I have had 3 jobs in software field. And I have noticed an interesting pattern. But before I get to the pattern let me explain 3 main things I look for in a job.
Pay: Getting paid slightly above current market value, or having good benefits.
Hours: Not doing more than 50 hours of work per week.
Environment: Being in a fun friendly environment where you feel like part of the team, and you are never bored and always have at least some kind of a task to do.

This is what I have observed.
My first job was in a medium sized company, and while hours and environment was great, the pay suffered. It was filled with awesome people, and I "almost" never had to work more than 50 hours each week. However they paid 10% below average market value. So after I stayed there for 20 months, I moved on to job 2.
It was a very small start up. The pay was awesome (15% above what I have seen being offered anywhere else), people were one of the best I have seen. Type of work I did allowed to quickly gain a lot of skills. However working at least 90 hours each week was pretty much mandatory. The people I worked with made it fun, but I got burned out pretty quickly. Needless to say my health only held up for 16 months before doctor said quit or die.
Now I am in my 3rd job for 15 months now. I work for a super gigantic corporate company. My pay kicks ass. I have best benefits, and never had to work more than 40 hours. But I am so very lonely and bored. There is almost no one to talk to, and when I have a question and even if someone sits beside me I have to email them to ask and can't ask them directly in person.

EDIT: I scraped the last question I asked and will rephrase.
Is it possible to find a "perfect" job where you are paid slightly above market value, you are not forced to work more than 50 hours a week, and you are surrounded with people with whom you can talk with and feel like a human being?

Also I am happy with all 3 jobs, and do not regret working there at all whatsoever. This question is simply to wonder if it is possible to find something that suits my needs down to a T.

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    Lots of people are happy about their jobs, as they have been able to find exactly what they are looking for in their careers and in their lives. What exactly is your question?
    – MrFox
    Apr 4 '14 at 19:42
  • @MrFox sorry I rephrased the question
    – Quillion
    Apr 4 '14 at 19:46
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about navigating the workplace. Apr 4 '14 at 20:27
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Is it possible to find a "perfect" job where you are paid slightly above market value, you are not forced to work more than 50 hours a week, and you are surrounded with people with whom you can talk with and feel like a human being?

Yes, it's certainly possible.

If you haven't found that sort of job yet, you might need to re-evaluate the way you search for jobs, the way you evaluate a prospective job during interviews, the field within which you are searching, how you evaluate "market value", what your definition of "feel like a human being" is, or all of the above.

It's very hard to perform an effective self-evaluation. We all think we are better than most everyone else (it's good to be optimistic!). And what we value as necessary to "feel like a human being" may be quite different from what others value.

I've had many jobs which match your criteria (at least my definitions of your criteria). I've only had a few that didn't. Perhaps I was uniquely lucky, but I don't think so.

(As far as "never bored", I'm not sure that's realistic. "Never" is a long time. Would you settle for "seldom"?)

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I think with most jobs it eventually gets to the point where one of those three becomes lacking. And what started off as a best of all three worlds you get used to and feel like there must be greener grass somewhere.

All three are important, and a three-legged stool is a good example. If the length on all three legs (money, people, work-life-balance) isn't right, you won't be able to sit still for very long.

If you don't find a balanced stool at your current job, there's no reason to stay. But be wary of looking like a job hopper. 1.5 years to 3 years is probably a good average tenure for an IT job.

To answer your question more directly: it's worth it to look for other jobs, but only you can determine if it's worth the risk of giving up the known (current job and it's level of balance) for the unknown (new job).

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  • And for the record, I feel like I've just found a job that will provide the balance you describe. So I'm right there with you in the search for the "perfect" job. Apr 4 '14 at 19:46
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While not universally true, I have found that people are generally paid what they are worth. The problem for you(us) is that the company gets to evaluate that worth. Understand that your goals and the company's goals won't necessarily align and when it comes to the bottom line, they will make decisions based on theirs.

In some ways work is a competition. If you want to get paid more, you need to produce more. You don't necessarily have to work more hours to do it, but at the end of the day, you need to have shown that you are more valuable than the people around you, whether that is inside your company or against industry norms.

Being happy at work requires effort and decisions on your part. What are you willing to do to get to that happy point? The company doesn't hold the responsibility for your happiness. If you want to work less, then you need to be prepared to be compensated less. If you care about the size/makeup of the company, you need to balance that with your other desires.

Their are plenty of places you can be happy and plenty of places you can be unhappy. You just need to understand all of the players in the game and what you can control.

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