What do you think about your job?

I was reading an article in the UK version of The Week, first published in the British The Observer newspaper. Entitled ‘The secrets of our working lives,’ the piece quoted from seven anonymous workers about the perks and pitfalls of their jobs.

The call-centre worker, involved mainly in tele-sales, described various games he played to help the day go by. One of them was to insert names of animals into sentences, like “I wonder if you have a few minutes to do a quick antelope satisfaction survey?” He commented that after a day at work he craved a normal conversation - I can understand how that must be. He also found that there were lots of educated people who needed to try to earn money and had turned to tele-sales: they couldn’t get jobs elsewhere. It made him realise that you shouldn’t judge someone by the job they do.

The paramedic commented that he saw more death, terror, blood and guts than most frontline soldiers: but the heartening moments, like bringing a baby into the world, or helping a fallen old lady to get back on her feet, and making her a cup of tea, helped to balance his life. He never got used to breaking sad news, but found that his role provided him with a real sense of purpose – people make way for paramedics because they are trying to help others.

The taxi driver remarked that whilst people often don’t say a word to each other on most forms of public transport, inside his taxi it was a different world: everyone had a story. From the businessman going to a meeting or the airport, to partygoers late at night trying to find a safe way home. He hated the people who just called him “Driver.”

The judge was most insightful. He commented that sitting in the criminal courts gave him a window into the darker, stranger, tragic and dangerous aspects of human activity. He added that most judges are more anxious about their work than most people might think.

He realised that his job is not so much to judge the people who end up in front of him, but to ensure that everyone receives justice.

I thought about my working life. Starting out as a young designer, I was keen to produce nice buildings and places where people could go about their business and enjoy their lives. As time went on, and I made my way up the responsibility tree, it became much more about how my part of the organisation could perform - could our team do something really special, which was also financially successful. Handing over the key of the first completed home at The Wave, to its new owners, on behalf of all members of that hard-working team, has been my major highlight in Oman to date.

Now, in my consultancy role, whilst the managing and chasing of contractors and consultants needs to be done on a daily basis to get things finished, my satisfaction comes from generating ideas for clients that add real value, or that help them to achieve strategic objectives.

Muscat Daily recently published some worrying facts. On April 10 it stated that the Ministry of Manpower had reported that it had invited 237 job seekers for interviews across the country, with 37 attending the interviews and 14 accepting the jobs offered. On May 5, it reported that 166 had been invited, with 16 attending and only five accepting jobs. Whilst I appreciate that there could be a number of reasons for this seemingly very low success rate, something is definitely not right.

Those looking for work should recognise that the perfect job might not come along straight away, but to work for the good of country, and themselves, is the correct thing to do. Turning up for the interview would be a good start. And it would seem that a better matching of job specification to applicant might help. After all, the goal is to give as many people as possible the chance to find out what a job might mean to them, to determine how they can contribute, and to add to their overall life experience.

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