Does Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose lead to the best job?
Discussing what makes a job one of the best you have ever had
Michelle Prosser-Roberts explores what has led her to consider what the best job she’s ever had has been and why.
My son recently asked me about the best job I have ever had. What was your best job? Can you identify why it was the best job?
Here is my response, but I would be interested to hear what you have to say and what it is about a job that makes it the “best”.
Given that we are always hoping that the next job will be better than the last job the simple answer to this question is the job that I am in now – i.e. Head of Operational Excellence for Accuteque Global Pty Ltd – working for Caroline Patton who is the CEO and founder of the company and a lady who has become a good friend.
Being motivated to work plays a big part in your enjoyment of work, which in turn makes a job a good job. In Dan Pink’s book, Drive, he talks about Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose being the key elements that are required for creative or knowledge work. Much more than money is the need to direct your own life, to have the opportunity to learn and create new things and the desire to do better by having a direction and a purpose. I read that book in 2016 and the truth of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose has stayed with me ever since; and it’s as true about home life as at work.
In my current job I have a purpose that aligns with my own values; to make a difference, a positive difference for my clients, for my colleagues for the people around me. That translates to helping organisations and people do better, be better to achieve excellence. Whether that is in terms of culture and ways of working like agile or human centred design, or organisational structure and responsibilities and creating clarity of purpose for their people, or through skills uplift and improving people’s capability and sharing what we know that works. So, a big tick on purpose.
Mastering a craft
With over 40 years of working in IT, I have developed a broad set of skills that I get to share with clients and colleagues, and I am still learning. So, I am mastering my craft and enjoying applying these skills to Accuteque itself as well as our clients. Every day I learn something new and enjoying mentoring and being mentored by others. Personally, I am also learning new things, like salsa and painting, so there is no lack of creation. I have great opportunities for mastery.
And as head of a practice, I manage my own backlog of projects and manage my own team and my own day. This level of autonomy would not be possible without the level of trust I have with my CEO and colleagues. Working through COVID-19 and working from home has had its challenges, but I think both personally and professionally I have emerged as a better person with greater motivation and personal control over my day. I have always known that as a person I like to have lots of options as to what I can do. Some days you know the brain is fired up and you can apply yourself to great focus. And other days you can’t seem to get off the merry-go-round – so smaller shorter administrative tasks are more appropriate. And some days, regardless of how you feel, you know you just have to “Eat that Frog” no matter what you feel like doing and having the grit, determination, and resilience to do the hard work is a must as well. Having the autonomy to choose what I do is especially important to me, and I am so lucky to have that.
There have been other jobs throughout my life that I have enjoyed, and overwhelmingly Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose have played a part. But it’s also the people you work with, the people you can learn from or want to learn from you that make a difference. So, my best jobs have been working with good people doing good things. If you can find that combination – enjoy!